Non-GMO Project responds to OCA over GMOs, coexistence and effective activism

Friday, February 18, 2011
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of (See all articles...)
Tags: Non-GMO Project, GMOs, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) There's been a war of words brewing lately between Ronnie Cummins at the Organic Consumers Association ( and Whole Foods, which has reluctantly embraced a philosophy of "coexistence" between GMO and non-GMO crops. The term "coexistence," of course, is misleading all by itself. It's really more of an "invasion" because GMO crops inevitably cross-contaminate non-GMO crops.

Through a number of articles, many posted here on NaturalNews, Ronnie Cummins has also expressed discontent with the Non-GMO Project ( The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization that works to end GMOs in the marketplace, or at least to require their honest labeling if they cannot be eliminated from the food supply.

So why the fuss? It would seem that everybody's on the same page here, right?

Well, not so fast. One of the things I've always admired about Ronnie is that he's a purist. He calls for zero GMOs in the food supply, without compromises and without so-called "coexistence" in agriculture. There's a lot of value in this position. I share it, in fact, and I don't believe that GMOs should ever be grown in open fields, and they certainly should never be used in foods consumed by people or animals.

This position, however, collides with the practicalities of organizations like Whole Foods, which -- let's all admit -- sells all sorts of products containing GMOs. While Whole Foods seems to support anti-GMO efforts in theory, it ultimately ended up settling for the coexistence stance. Banning GMOs entirely from Whole Foods stores would empty many of the store shelves there. That's why, to many observers, Whole Foods appears to have caved in on this issue and decided to accept the USDA's pro-GMO position.

This frustrates people like Ronnie Cummins, who of course want all GMOs to be banned from the food supply -- a goal that NaturalNews shares. This is probably what led Ronnie to go after the Non-GMO Project, as he most likely saw the group as not doing enough to fight against GMOs. Personally, I can't really go along with Ronnie's characterization of the Non-GMO Project as a "greenwashing" group, but I definitely do share Ronnie's frustration when the USDA seems to be on a kind of GMO rampage and some in the industry (such as Whole Foods) don't seem to be voicing sufficiently strong opposition to it.

What does the Non-GMO Project say?

In the interests of bringing in a fresh perspective on all this, we're publishing the rebuttal of Megan Westgate with the Non-GMO Project. The original text is posted on their website ( and is entitled, "Team Organic will Never Surrender to Monsanto: Now We Continue the Fight, Together."

The publishing of this rebuttal (below) is in no way intended to stir up disagreement within the organic industry, but rather to help readers understand why passions run so high on this issue -- and why the GMO question is so crucial for our long-term health and sustainability here on planet Earth. Personally, I believe the Non-GMO Project has a valuable role to play in this effort to halt the GMO contamination of our world, just as the Organic Consumers Association does, and the Institute for Responsible Technology as well. I hope we can all find a way to pull in the same direction on these crucial issues, because when we bicker amongst ourselves on the natural side of things, it distracts us from the far greater enemies out there such as Monsanto, a corporation that, in my view, is an enemy of life on our planet.

Our position here at NaturalNews is, first, the mandatory labeling of GMOs in the food supply followed by the complete removal of GMOs from the food supply. The first goal is readily attainable. The second is much more challenging.

As part of our effort to achieve the first, we're teaming up with Ronnie Cummins on February 24th, 7pm Central Time, to launch an online webinar event that involves thousands of volunteers who will join us in slapping GMO labels on foods sitting on shelves in the grocery stores! If the food industry won't label their foods accurately, we'll do it for them!

Register for the event now at:

Here's the rebuttal from Megan Westgate. It does not contain the hyperlinks of the original article, so I encourage you to actually read it at the source:

Team Organic will Never Surrender to Monsanto: Now We Continue the Fight, Together

by Megan Westgate, Non-GMO Project

I am no stranger to the rush of radical activism, to the satisfaction of identifying an enemy and throwing heart and soul into righteous indignation. In this complicated world, it’s tempting to reduce shades of gray to simple black and white. Sometimes that’s the only way to achieve a reassuring sense that we know where we stand (and therefore who we are). As a college student a decade ago, I devoted endless hours to organizing protests against the Keck Graduate Institute, the first university in the world dedicated solely to biotechnology. When we successfully shut down their inaugural celebration, I wrote about it in the Earth First! Journal. In 2001 I attended the Ruckus Society’s “Biojustice” Action Camp, where I learned about the threats posed by the new science of genetic engineering, and how to scale a building or lock myself to the axle of a car if an action called for those skills.

It was all incredibly exhilarating, and my friends and I did accomplish some things of lasting value, including the protection of what remains one of the largest plots of endangered Coastal Sage Scrub habitat in Los Angeles County. As time passes, though, what I cherish most from my early activist days is not the rush of combat, but the satisfaction I experienced in collaborating with like-minded allies. The true power behind everything we accomplished came from our ability to work together as a team. In the wake of the USDA’s recent decision to deregulate genetically modified alfalfa, it is that power -- the power of unification with like-minded allies -- that we must seek. The understandable (and completely justified) feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness that the organic community is experiencing must be directed constructively. We are too small and up against too much for there to be any other way forward.

Leading up to the ruling, a broad coalition of organic organizations and companies were working around the clock in an attempt to influence the USDA’s decision. The USDA had already made it clear that alfalfa would be deregulated, but hope remained that there might be some way to soften the blow. Organic Valley, Whole Foods and Stonyfield Farm, along with many others in the organic community, were doing everything in their power to secure protections for organic farmers so that if their fields were contaminated once the GMO alfalfa was released, biotechnology companies for the first time would be held accountable for their pollution and would be forced to pay for the damages. These groups were also pushing for measures to protect seed purity so that non-GMO alfalfa supplies could be maintained. Unfathomably, these tireless organic organizations are now being criticized for their efforts. In total denial of the incontrovertible fact that the USDA was never even remotely considering a full ban on GMO alfalfa, some are suggesting that these groups’ efforts to make the most of a bad situation *somehow* (though no one is very specific on how, exactly) signals corruption, and are even calling for boycotts. HOW ON EARTH is taking this out on 1200 organic family farmers going to help anything?! This is divisiveness we cannot afford.

Of the whole circular firing squad that’s been exploding in recent days, most shocking to me personally was a statement by Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association that the Non-GMO Project “is basically a greenwashing effort.” Say what?! Cummins goes on to say that the Project is unnecessary for organic products, since they are already “basically free from GMOs,” while “failing to focus on so-called ‘natural’ foods.” Totally wrong on both counts!

First of all, the hard truth is that organic foods are not necessarily “free” of GMOs. While the National Organic Program (NOP) identifies genetic modification as an excluded method, GMOs are not a prohibited substance. This means that although GMO seeds are not supposed to be planted, and GMO ingredients are not supposed to be used, no testing is required under the NOP. With the majority of key crops like soy and corn being planted with GM varieties in North America, contamination of seeds and ingredients is a real risk, even for certified organic products. It is critical to understand that the ONLY way to identify (and control) GMO contamination is through testing, in combination with other best practices. The organic standards do not require testing; the Non-GMO Project Standard does. Over half of the companies participating in the Non-GMO Project produce certified organic products. These companies have chosen Non-GMO Project Verification in addition to their organic certification because they are committed to keeping their products non-GMO, and are concerned that organic certification is not adequate. Many organic companies joined the Project after their internal GMO testing indicated a growing risk of contamination.

With regard to natural products, there are literally thousands of them enrolled in the Non-GMO Project, so I fail to see how we are “failing to focus” on them. As an example, Whole Foods has their entire 365 product line, organic AND natural enrolled in the Non-GMO Project. This commitment means that they are requiring testing of every single GMO risk ingredient used in every single one of their house brand products, both organic and natural. As a founding member of the Non-GMO Project, Whole Foods made a point from the very beginning of ensuring that this program would be available for not only their organic products, but their natural ones, too. Their commitment is exemplary. In fact, it is exactly the sort of positive action step that Cummins called for in his recent article.

Okay, so I’ll admit it -- this is where I got really confused. After talking trash about the Non-GMO Project and its founders, Cummins, whose support is important to me, says “We’ve got to concentrate our forces where our leverage and power lie, in the marketplace, at the retail level; pressuring retail food stores to voluntarily label their products.” Oh hey, good idea! Let’s do that! I know: we can create a non-profit to oversee standards, third party verification, and consistent labeling so that consumers can have full transparency about companies’ non-GMO practices. We can call it the Non-GMO Project, and it can be the most effective tool in North America for stopping the unchecked flow of GMOs into natural and organic products. Oh, wait a minute…

Yes, that’s right, how wonderful for everyone -- all of that work has already been done. Yay! As a founding board member of the Non-GMO Project, and its first (and only) Executive Director, I have been working on exactly this strategy virtually non-stop for the last four years, along with a huge group of passionate, determined, and highly-principled people and organizations, and I have to admit I feel pretty darn good about what we are accomplishing. I am loath to even dignify the “greenwashing” accusation with a response, but I guess I should.

So please consider this: Since being handed my first article about the deadly impact of GMO corn pollen on monarch larvae in 1999, when I was 19 years old, I have been moved to action on the GMO issue. Following my activism in college, I worked as the Outreach Coordinator at the Food Conspiracy Co-op in Tucson, AZ, where I saw firsthand how much confusion there was in the public about GMOs, and how bad the situation was getting. With the government consistently ignoring consumer calls for labeling, and organic products increasingly at risk, a group of small retailers decided it was time to take matters into our own hands. That was the beginning of the Non-GMO Project, and those of us who started it were motivated by one thing: the desire to make sure that Americans did not lose the right to eat non-GMO food. Our efforts are finally starting to pay off, though the battle is far from over. Because of the Non-GMO Project, hundreds of farmers, processors and manufacturers across North America are learning how to control GMO contamination as much as is possible, and consumers are finally being given an informed choice in the form of the “Non-GMO Project Verified” label. It’s just barely not too late.

I do this work because when I start having children in a few years, I want to make sure that they can eat non-GMO food for their whole lives. I am also doing this because I am a person of exceptional moral integrity who believes it is my duty to do what I can to serve the greater good, and food and health are my passion. This is not an easy undertaking, and it will not succeed without the full support of everyone who cares about stopping GMOs. Since Thursday’s ruling, far too much anger and blame has been directed in entirely the wrong direction. It’s time to take a step back, remember that we are all on the same team, and get smart about our next steps. For my part, I am going to make a donation to the Center for Food Safety, so that they can get the USDA back into court ASAP, and then I’m going to spend the weekend catching up on running the Non-GMO Project. I hope I don’t get waylaid by any more baseless criticism; none of us can afford it. The health of our children, our grandchildren, and our environment is at stake, so let’s take good care of each other and give this our best.

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

About the author: Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

In addition to being the co-star of the popular GAIAM TV series called Secrets to Health, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

In 2013, Adams created the Natural News Forensic Food Laboratory, a research lab that analyzes common foods and supplements, reporting the results to the public. He is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.