TAKE ACTION: Tell the Organic Trade Association: Cargill and BASF Don't Belong!

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The Organic Trade Association (OTA) says it’s dedicated to promoting and protecting organics. But the organization, dubbed the Organic “Traitors” Association after it betrayed the consumer-led GMO labeling movement, is moving farther away from its organic roots—and closer to corporate control.

How do we know? The OTA recently admitted two new members: chemical giant BASF, a dicamba manufacturer and leader in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and Cargill, one of the largest factory farm meat corporations in the world, and a big supporter of GMO crops.

TAKE ACTION: Tell the Organic Trade Association: Cargill and BASF don't belong!

After you sign our letter to OTA’s executive director, Laura Batcha, call her at (202) 403-8512. Then post on OTA’s Facebook page,  and tweet @BatchaLaura.

The OTA states that its goal is to work in conjunction with organic businesses “to encourage and protect organic farming practices, and to share messages about the positive environmental and nutritional attributes of organic products with consumers, the media and policymakers.”

So, why is OTA partnering with BASF and Cargill?

OTA’s cozy new partnership with corporate entities like BASF and Cargill—two of the worst offenders of human and environmental health—is the latest in an ongoing (and deliberate) attack on the integrity of organics.

BASF and its path of chemical destruction

Chemical giant BASF is one of the largest manufacturers of dicamba-based herbicide formulations, including Engenia, a dicamba-based herbicide released in 2017, designed specifically for use with genetically engineered dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton.

Since its release, the drift-prone herbicide has damaged an estimated 3.6 million acres across the U.S., including trees in Iowa, Illinois and Tennessee. It also reportedly caused repeated damage in the Midwest, to organic and conventional vegetable farms, privately owned lawns and gardens, professional nurseries and historic state parks.

The victims of dicamba damage have little recourse as state departments of forestry, natural resources and agriculture “pass responsibility for non-soybean dicamba injury back and forth between each other, like a hot potato,” according to a recent report in DTN/Progressive Farmer:

State regulators are struggling to keep up with the pace of complaints, leading to long delays and unresolved investigations. Even state investigations that find a pesticide applicator at fault can only fine the applicator—not compensate the victim.

The result? Small farmers and property owners who have suffered financial losses they will likely never recover.

Bill Johnson, a weed scientist with Purdue University, describes the damage caused by dicamba herbicide drift as “giving all of agriculture a black eye.”

Allowing BASF, the manufacturer of such a destructive and toxic agrichemical, to join the OTA—an organization designed to protect organics—is a blatant slap in the face to consumers.

Nature’s Path leaves OTA as a ‘protest to save organic’

The conflict between promoting organic standards while simultaneously partnering with members who ignore those very standards has resulted in tension among some of OTA’s members.

Nature’s Path is the latest company to announce its departure from the OTA. In June, the family-owned organic farm said its decision to leave the OTA is based on the fact that the OTA has moved away from supporting the core principles of organics in exchange for a non-organic agenda.

Nature’s Path also cited OTA’s decision to partner with Cargill as another reason to leave the OTA.

“Cargill is one of a handful of global players that are driving the factory farm model of food production. Cargill is also intimately involved in the production of cheap GMO soy that is one of the top feed sources for factory farmed livestock and fish,” Patty Lovera, policy director for Food & Water Watch, told Living Maxwell.

If OTA leadership wants us to believe the organization is a champion of organics, it should sever ties with companies like BASF and Cargill.

TAKE ACTION: Tell the Organic Trade Association: Cargill and BASF don't belong!


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