Action Alerts

OFA-NY sends action alerts when an important issue is coming up for a vote either at the State or Federal level in an effort to encourage members and concerned citizens to contact their representatives. To receive action alerts, sign up for our E-News on the right side of this page. You can also see current alerts posted on social media like our Facebook or Twitter page. Our blog is also an excellent source for background on policy issues.


ACTION ALERT
GOVERNOR CUOMO –
NO DEAD GMO MOTHS IN OUR BROCCOLI, CABBAGE,AND CAULIFLOWER!
[Call him at 518-474-8390]

Cornell University just received a Federal permit to release the world’s first open air GMO insect developed for a food crop into the open air in Geneva, NY.GEDM

Don’t let Cornell University Release Genetically Engineered Moths into New York air – this is an uncontrolled release – once they are out, there is no taking them back!

The Genetically Engineered Diamondback moth was developed by Oxitec/Intrexon in the UK to ‘control’ the moth which does damage to brassica plants (cabbage, broccoli etc. family). The GMO moth kills the female larvae as they develop on the food plant. Tens of thousands of these altered moths will be released every week for 3-4 months in the Geneva, NY area.

The GMO moth (larvae) is engineered to die on the food plants.

Will we find — and potentially consume — dead GMO moth larvae on our organic broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower? Will we, our backyard chickens, songbirds, and endangered species be eating GMO moths dying on the plants?

Area organic brassica plants could be severely damaged by this inundation – Who will buy New York Broccoli plantingbroccoli, cabbage and cauliflower with dead GMO larvae on it?

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has refused any review or permitting jurisdiction – thereby letting the USDA’s cursory health/environmental review [see their ‘environmental assessment’ HERE] stand with no review of its effect on New Yorkers.

In New York State, you must get a permit to release butterflies at your wedding, but no permit or review is required to release a brand new Genetically Engineered moth into the open air.

CALL GOVERNOR CUOMO TODAY: 518-474-8390

TELL HIM:
“HALT THE CORNELL GMO MOTH RELEASE UNTIL NEW YORK DOES FULL ENVIRONMENTAL/HEALTH REVIEW.”
“I DON’T WANT TO EAT DEAD GMO MOTH LARVAE IN MY NEW YORK GROWN BROCCOLI, CABBAGE AND CAULIFLOWER.”

Or contact Gov. Cuomo HERE

Or Tweet: @NYGovCuomo Halt @Cornell #GMOmoth release until state does full #environmental/#health review #NoGMOmoths in #NYS #NoGMOdiamondbackmoth


Click here for the PDF version.

 

PAST TAKE ACTIONS!

May 23, 2017 - Tell the USDA You Want Strong Organic Poultry and Livestock Standards

BIG AG WANTS USDA TO THROW OUT ORGANIC ANIMAL WELFARE RULE
TELL USDA YOU WANT STRONG ORGANIC POULTRY AND LIVESTOCK STANDARDS

The National Organic Program (NOP) has completed its Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (OLPP) which would give them the ability to consistently enforce stronger animal welfare standards. It is now supposed to take effect on November 14.

But, Big Ag has lobbied to stop it from happening – USDA is asking (a second time) if these rules should go forward.

Send USDA a clear message: the animal welfare rule—also known as the OLPP rule—should become effective November 14.

Here's how:

  1. Visit regulations.gov and enter docket # AMS-NOP-17-0031; NOP-15-06A
  2. Use these talking points or share your own thoughts as to why the USDA should let the OLPP rule take effect in November.
  3. You can also mail your comments to: Paul Lewis, Director, Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Room 2642-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC. 20250-0268.

The deadline for comments is June 9!

THANKS! WITHOUT YOUR VOICE, THESE ANIMALS WELFARE'S STANDARDS WILL GO AWAY.

May 15, 2017 - Your Comments are Needed! Demand all environmental and health impacts have been reviewed before releasing the GE Diamondback Moth!

USDA’s COMMENT PERIOD IS OPEN UNTIL THIS FRIDAY, MAY 19
YOUR COMMENTS ARE NEEDED!

Cornell University has applied for a permit to execute the world’s first open-air trial of a genetically engineered diamondback moth (GDM). Diamondback moths are a potential pest to brassica plants (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, etc.).

This new GM insect is intended to reduce pest populations of diamondback moths by engineering a new female lethality trait into male GDM — female larvae die, and males reproduce until the population is destroyed.

Those pushing this technology have not completed any worldwide assessments of health and environmental safety, and only cursory environmental reviews have been conducted by the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Unless and until all environmental and health impacts have been reviewed, it is reckless to release hundreds of thousands of novel organisms around the citizens and farms of New York State.

Take Action – Object to the Proposal NOW!

The deadline for the APHIS open comment period on the release proposal is Friday, May 19. Submit your comments here BEFORE May 19, 2017 and click the box, “Comment Now!”

For more information, see the complete USDA/APHIS permit and the environmental assessment. Check out a comprehensive review and article by Gene Watch UK, plus NOFA-NY’s general fact sheet and farmers’ fact sheet.

Comment Points to the USDA/APHIS:

1. Impact on Human and Environmental Health

  • Human and animal health and environmental impacts of GDM are unknown.
  • Impacts on non-target species exposed to the GDM larvae are unknown, including:
  • Farmworkers who may breathe or ingest dead larvae debris or live adults.
  • Vegetable consumers who may eat dead larvae remaining on the vegetable.
  • Other birds and animals that may eat the plant, larvae, or debris.
  • Non-target species in the soil that may be exposed to dead GDM larvae.
  • The use of a tetracycline antibiotic to breed the GDM could result in antibiotic resistant bacteria in their guts that spread into the environment and food chain.

2. Impact on Brassica Farming in New York State

  • This trial could create a problem that doesn’t exist today, with negative consequences to the vital brassica farming business and farm economy in NYS.
  • Large releases of GDM could make it economically and agriculturally challenging to grow brassicas in NYS for both conventional and organic farmers.
  • Diamondback moths are not a serious threat in New York, yet this trial could create a bigger problem. The permit allows non-GM moths to be released if there aren’t enough naturally. GDM need to be released many times greater than natural numbers to overcome wild populations. Ratios of 10 to 1 and 40 to 1 GDM to wild moths have been used in caged experiments, taking repeated releases over six weeks to begin to suppress wild moth populations. The resulting damage to crops could be considerable.
  • Farmers may need to use additional pesticides to protect crops against infestation. This could create a cycle of release/spray that require ever greater releases and spraying.
  • Organic farms and methods of control could be overwhelmed in the face of the infestation created.
  • If the release results in reductions in diamondback moth populations, other pests, including potentially more destructive ones, could move into the ecological niche created, resulting in serious ecological and agricultural problems.
  • Since GDM female larvae die (presumably on the plant), farmers (conventional or organic) could experience large amounts of dead larvae on the plants, possibly resulting in market rejection of NY-grown brassicas.

3. Potential for Contamination and Other Unintended Consequences

  • There are no appropriate bio-security measures in place to protect those who do not want to be exposed to GDM. Windblown moths can be dispersed hundreds of miles from where they emerge.
  • When male GDM spread outside the trial site, breeding and release of large numbers could lead to a resistance to the female lethality trait. The GDM might encounter sufficient tetracycline in the environment to allow them to survive and breed.
  • It is unknown how the insects might mutate and evolve as releases continue.
  • Organic and other farmers who do not wish to have GDM on their crops will not be protected from the spread of GDM to their fields. No measures have been put in place to establish liability and responsibility for contamination by GDM.

Background to the plan:

The GM diamondback moth was developed by the British GMO insect developer firm Oxitec Ltd (now Intrexon) to reduce the population of the moth, which is a pest to Brassica family plants. In 2014 Oxitec received a permit from USDA/APHIS to allow the first world-wide efficacy trials in New York State by Dr Anthony Shelton, Cornell University.

The world’s first GDM trials began in 2015 under netted cages at Cornell University’s Geneva Experiment Station.

The 2014 permit was revoked in early 2016 (due to a USDA technical error) and the application was re-submitted in late 2016. The USDA/APHIS permit would allow for 2 years of open (non-netted) trials, releasing up to 1.44 million male GDM per year. Diamondback moths are a serious pest to the Brassica family of plants in the southern US, UK, parts of Europe, South and Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Africa, although not particularly in New York State.

Concerns include the contamination of crops with female GM larvae, which die while feeding on the crop, and impacts of this single-species approach on other pests which could cause increases in numbers.

How is it supposed to work?

Male GDM are produced in the laboratory with fluorescence and ‘female lethality’ traits. The lethality trait is turned off by a tetracycline switch, so the insects can be bred to adulthood by feeding on this antibiotic. Thousands of male GDM are repeatedly released into the field and mate with wild females who produce eggs, which are laid on the brassica. Larvae develop and the GDM female larvae die. The GDM males pupate to continue the cycle and surviving GDM males—along with repeated additional releases of GDM males—suppress the numbers of wild diamondback moths. This takes six weeks or more in laboratory experiments.

In order to significantly affect the moth lifecycle, up to 100,000 male GDM will be released weekly from the lab for up to 4 months. There may also be a release of non-GE moths if there are not enough naturally existing. The release of male GDM must be in numbers an order of magnitude greater than wild moths in order for the GDM to overtake the wild ones. The release rate is unknown at this time, but numbers from 4X to 50X have been used in trials of other GM insects.

Click here for the whole article.

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April 11, 2017 - No Organic Checkoff!

In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed an organic research and promotion checkoff program which could unfairly promote large organic processors’ needs over those of smaller, family farmers. The deadline to leave comments is quickly approaching - April 19th.

NOFA-NY states that the Checkoff is not farmer friendly, will benefit United States Organic sales, not production, and will negatively impact all organic certificate holders, whether or not they are assessed. Given its stated purposes, it is unlikely to benefit the growth, sustainability or profitability of organic farmers in the U.S., yet will require burdensome paperwork for all, and is an unfair tax.

NOFA-NY believes that the proposed Checkoff program could unfairly promote large, organic processors’ needs over those of independent, family farmers. These USDA programs focus on the marketplace; they are not about farmers or farming.

“Organic is about more than sales,” adds NOFA-NY Executive Director Andrianna Natsoulas. “Unless we preserve the viability and profitability of our farmers and increase U.S. organic farmers and farms, we will not see organic’s health and environmental benefits.”

Click to read the comments submitted by NOFA-NY to the proposed rule. Click here to include your own comments!

March 1, 2017 - Oppose the Organic Checkoff

Oppose the Organic Checkoff

No Organic Checkoff

July 20, 2016 - GMO labeling & QR codes

July 20, 2016 ACTION ALERT!

On July 7, the Senate passed a bill to label genetically modified foods allowing companies to use QR codes instead of words on the package. It discriminates against low income families, minorities, mothers, seniors, the disabled & those without smartphones. 

In 2007 President Obama said, “We’ll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying.”ALL Americans should know what they're buying, not just the privileged.Only 21% of Americans surveyed have scanned QR codes; QR code software must be downloaded. Just 27% of seniors & 50% of low income Americans own smartphones. 42% of Blacks & 36% of Latinos have had to let their smartphone service lapse. President Obama: Stand up for ALL Americans. Veto this discriminatory bill.

President Obama hasn't signed S.764, the DARK Act (the bill to Deny Americans our Right to Know about GMOs) yet: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/pending-legislation

So let's keep working on getting the official WhiteHouse.gov petition to 100,000 (the number that will trigger an official response):

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/veto-dark-act-s764

When you post to social media, use #VetoDARKact. Thank you to everyone who's been pushing this out. We're getting close! Just a little more than 27,000 left to go!

Next week, Wednesday July 27, at 12 noon, there will be a rally for GMO labels at the Democratic National Convention in Philly:‎ https://m.facebook.com/events/1516687518357512/

June 2016 - Tell Your Senators to Reject Bill S.2609

June 2016 ACTION ALERT!

CALL SENATORS GILLIBRAND AND SCHUMER TODAY!

 Please urge them to reject the latest version of Senator Roberts' bill (S. 2609), or any bill that prohibits states from requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs).

Senator Gillibrand: (202) 224-4451

Senator Schumer: (202) 224-6542

Tell Senators Gillibrand and Schumer: Please Stand Firm For NY! Both senators have showed great courage in supporting mandatory on-package GE Labeling and opposing efforts to nullify Vermont and other states' laws. Urge them to protect New York again and oppose the Stabenow-Roberts Bill.

The Stabenow-Roberts bill violates the important tenets of GMO labeling. NOFA-NY supports the Maine Organic Farming & Gardening Association Five Key Principles:

  1. No State Pre-emption. Must not pre-empt established state GMO labeling laws
  2. Voluntary is Not Acceptable. Must require mandatory GMO labeling
  3. No Hi-Tech Gimmicks. No QR codes, 1-800-numbers, etc.
  4. On-Package. Must require on-package GMO labeling.
  5. Consumer Transparency. Must display the words "Produced with Genetic Engineering."

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

The Stabenow-Roberts bill (S. 2609) is a cave to special interests. If passed, it: 

 - would pre-empt Vermont's and other states' laws

 - would establish a federal program based on QR codes, a symbol, 1-800 numbers, or a statement on packages referring people to websites

 - would take 2 years to create the standards

 - would not include penalties for non-compliance

 - would narrow the definition of genetic engineering and exclude many products currently considered GMO

PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY!

Make Your Voice Heard for GMO Labeling before it's too late! 

May 2016 - NY GE Labeling Bill - Turn up the Heat!

MAY 2016 ACTION ALERT!

NY GE Labeling Bill – It's time to Turn up the Heat! Write a Letter to the Editor, and send us a picture.

All NOFA members and supporters! Help us make the final push to pass the GMO labeling bill!  The majority of NY Assemblymembers and Senators support A.617/S.485 which would label all genetically engineered foods in New York State. Fifty percent of the Assembly and nearly half of the Senate have co-sponsored the bill. Given this overwhelming support, we're asking you to please write a short Letter to the Editor of your local paper urging your Assemblymember and Senator to ask the leaders of the NY Legislature to put the bill up for a vote. This year’s session ends in less than a month!

Go HERE for some talking points to help you write a letter – Make sure you ask your Assembly member and Senator (by name) to urge the Legislative leaders to bring A.617/S.485 to a vote!

March 2016 - Tell your Senator to Support GE Labeling in NYS!

March 2016 Action Alert!

Please call your NYS Assembly representative and State Senator or arrange to visit them in their home office during the Easter break!

Ask them to sponsor A.617B/S.485B, the bill to Label GMO food in New York! If they have already signed on as sponsors (we are up to 73 Assembly reps and 23 Senators), thank them and ask them to push leadership to bring the bill to a floor vote.

The announcements from Campbell’s Soups and General Mills that they will label their products that contain GMOs, with no price rise, gives the lie to industry clamor that labeling GMOs will raise the price of food by $500 to $1000 a year!

Click here for a sample letter you can adapt to send to your representatives.