GMO Labeling at a Glance

CA-logo-mainU.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), have re-introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, legislation that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clearly label GE ingredients. Polls show that more than 90% of Americans support labeling. Furthermore, 64 countries already require it. Meanwhile, competing legislation dubbed the “DARK” act — Denying Americans the Right-to-Know” — was also re-introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to block any federal or state action requiring labeling of GE food, which, among other bad precedents, would reverse state labeling successes. In 2011, the Center for Food Safety submitted a federal petition to the FDA to label GE food. The FDA has yet to respond to the petition, despite receiving more than 1.4 million comments supporting the petition.

Do you support labeling? Tell your members of Congress today.

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Spring Newsletter: Breaking New Ground

Mic with buckwheat at Nash's-Sam in backgroundSpring has arrived, and our staff is busy breaking new ground at a research farm in Chimacum, Washington. This operation centralizes much of our research, education, and seed production in the region. We’ll be hosting volunteer work parties every Friday beginning this week. If you’re in the area, please join us! In return you’ll receive some hands-on instruction in organic plant breeding, variety trials, and seed saving.

Organic Seed Alliance continues to break ground in other ways, too. Read the full spring newsletter here to learn more.

Happy sowing!

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OSA’s ‘Abundant Bloomsdale’ Spinach Hits Marketplace

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‘Abundant Bloomsdale’ spinach is deeply savoyed with beneficial agronomic and nutritional qualities

Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) is proud to announce the release of a new spinach variety called ‘Abundant Bloomsdale’. The name is a tribute to OSA’s predecessor, Abundant Life Seed Foundation.

“Our newest commercial release exemplifies Organic Seed Alliance’s approach to participatory plant breeding,” says Micaela Colley, executive director of Organic Seed Alliance. “OSA’s plant breeders worked collaboratively with eight farms on the Olympic Peninsula to develop an exceptional variety for organic farmers.”

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USDA Ditches GMO Regs: What It Means

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Photo credit: USDA-ARS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Friday that it’s ditching a 2008 proposal that would have updated GMO regulations.

A little background: The USDA is one of three agencies that regulate GMOs (along with the EPA and FDA). When these engineered crops landed in our fields and grocery aisles, U.S. decision makers chose to rely on a patchwork of existing laws, many of which predate the technology, instead of creating a new law to oversee biotechnology. This resulted in a mishmash of agency interpretations for regulating GMOs.

The U.S.’s patchwork approach to regulating GMOs has left many holes: the absence of mandatory GMO labeling and post-market monitoring, and a mechanism for compensating non-GMO growers harmed by contamination, to name a few. Lacking a robust regulatory framework, each agency has, in different ways, abdicated their regulatory responsibility.

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First Organic Carrot Breeding Collaborative to Host Webinar

eOrganic_logoJoin eOrganic for a webinar on the Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project on March 24th, 2015. The webinar takes place at 2:00 p.m. Eastern/1:00 p.m. Central/12:00 p.m. Mountain/ 11:00 a.m. Pacific. The webinar is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.

CIOA is the first multi-state, participatory plant-breeding project to focus solely on organic carrots. Organic growers need carrot varieties that are adapted to organic conditions and have market qualities that organic consumers demand, such as superior nutrition and flavor. While some breeding work has identified these traits in orange, red, purple, and yellow carrots – all high-value crops and in demand by consumers – these varieties have not been adapted to the needs of organic agriculture.

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