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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

UPDATE: Neil Young Says Goodbye to Starbucks & Starbucks Says "Hello???"

Last week, Neil Young published an open letter on his official news site where he said Goodbye to Starbucks Coffee Corporation. Neil was motivated by the GMO labeling controversy in Vermont that the Monsanto Corporation is involved in.

Naturally, this seemed to have agitated many coffee drinkers and GMO supporters around the world, judging by the comments we received on ThrashersWheatNeverSleeps | Facebook (101) and elsewhere.

Now, Starbucks has responded and Says It Has Nothing to Do With a High-Profile GMO Lawsuit | TIME. The coffee giant released a statement denying that it is involved in the litigation.
“Starbucks is not a part of any lawsuit pertaining to GMO labeling nor have we provided funding for any campaign,” the statement says. “Starbucks is not aligned with Monsanto to stop food labeling or block Vermont State law.”
So, as with many thing, this has gotten a bit complicated.

First, here is the SomeOfUS petition language referenced in his statement:
Starbucks doesn't think you have the right to know what's in your coffee. So it's teamed up with Monsanto to sue the small U.S. state of Vermont to stop you from finding out.

Hiding behind the shadowy "Grocery Manufacturers Association", Starbucks is supporting a lawsuit that's aiming to block a landmark law that requires genetically-modified ingredients be labeled. Amazingly, it claims that the law is an assault on corporations' right to free speech. Even a local Vermont company, Green Mountain Coffee, has joined in.

SumOfUs members have already chipped in to support Vermont's legal defense fund. Now, we need to undermine the Grocery Manufacturers Association's base. Monsanto might not care what we think -- but as a public-facing company, Starbucks does. If we can generate enough attention, we can push Starbucks to withdraw its support for the lawsuit, and then pressure other companies to do the same.

Sign the petition to tell Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee to withdraw their support for the lawsuit against Vermont, and stop fighting accurate food labeling.

Vermont is a small, entirely rural state with just 600,000 people. It’s a classic David and Goliath fight between Vermont and Monsanto. Considering that Starbucks has been progressive on LGBT and labor issues in the past, it's disappointing that it is working with the biggest villain of them all, Monsanto.

There’s much more at stake here than just whether GMO foods will be labeled in a single U.S. state. Vermont is the very first state in the U.S. to require labeling. Dozens of other states have said that they will follow this path -- in order to encourage this, we need to ensure that Vermont's law stands strong.

That's why Monsanto and its new allies are fighting so hard to kill GMO labeling in Vermont.

But whatever you think of GMOs, corporations should not be using massive lawsuits to overturn legitimate, democratic decisions with strong public backing.

SumOfUs is already fighting back -- we helped Vermont raise almost a quarter of a million dollars to defend themselves against Monsanto’s bullying! But the next strategic step is to pressure and call out members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the shadowy body leading the lawsuit.

Add your voice now. Tell Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee to stop supporting the lawsuit against Vermont.
So -- naturally -- lots of spin and hairsplitting on the subject.

Second, folks on both sides of the GMO issue are making claims about the health impacts of GMO food.

Last we checked, according to a new correlation study published in the Journal of Organic Systems:
“Within the last 20 years there has been an alarming increase in serious illnesses in the US, along with a marked decrease in life expectancy (Bezruchka, 2012). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the cost of diabetes and diabetes-related treatment was approximately $116 billion dollars in 2007.

Estimated costs related to obesity were $147 billion in 2008 and cardiovascular diseases and stroke were $475.3 billion in 2009. Health care expenditures in the US totaled 2.2 trillion dollars in 2007 (CDC, 2013a). The onset of serious illness is appearing in increasingly younger cohorts. The US leads the world in the increase in deaths due to neurological diseases between 1979-81 and 2004-06 for the 55-65 age group (Pritchard et al., 2013).”

“During this same time period, there has been an exponential increase in the amount of glyphosate applied to food crops and in the percentage of GE food crops planted (Benbrook, 2012). We undertook a study to see if correlations existed between the rise of GE crops, the associated glyphosate use and the rise in chronic disease in the US.”
So if you think that GMO's are great, it would appear that you might just be onboard with the de-population agenda, because it sure seems to be working pretty well.

The bottom line is that if citizens of the State of Vermont want to require GMO labeling, that's their business and Starbucks, Monsanto and Grocery Manufacturers Association should stop interfering.

Freedom of choice



At 11/18/2014 09:03:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

When Neil wrote the statement I did a little research and was left with the impression that SomeOfUs was obfuscating things and trying to single out Starbucks unfairly. I agree the issue of honest food labeling is a legitimate issue that deserves to be addressed. But a wise person once told me "the ends don't justify the means" and in this case SomeOfUs' approach is smelling a bit rotten ... Basically, Starbucks is a source of livelihood for many people its unethical to knowingly malign them as a means to reaching what we can agree are good ends (fair labeling). To some extent, I think Neil was also fleeced by SomeOfUs because he lent his celebrity to the cause and he publicly castigated Starbucks for doing something they never did. If folks really want to call out bad behavior here among the list should be SomeOfUs for their crooked ways. I have no dog in this fight. I admire Neil and love his music and side with those who want to fight for fair and honest labeling ...

At 11/18/2014 09:58:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Dan for your measured reply.

When Neil first posted this last week, we didn't blog it. Something seemed off.

The bit about "everyday standing in line at Starbucks" struck as improbable.

But eventually we got around to it and since then folks took notice. Yes, we admire Neil's activism. Tremendously.

He puts virtually everyone else in the business to shame. Even more sadly is how few artists stand up with Neil on these vital issues.

Everyone's too concerned about offending someone and hurting their revenues. But it's way past time to play it safe and begin to take risks.

With every passing day we see who's standing up and who continues to sit silently. This doesn't go unnoticed. Trust us. It's about you & me.

At 11/18/2014 10:04:00 PM, Blogger Hounds That Howl said...

Yes Thrasher, Freedom..

This is like Dr. Frankenstein and The Monster Frankenstein. We created corporations, and government and we (The People) are corporations and government. Frequently the creation tries to run over the creator.

Thank you Howard Beale, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore..."

Corporations trying to take limit our right to evaluate their product or service or limit our choice for selfish reasons.

Our Government changing it's paradigm from preserving equality of opportunity to flourish ("The pursuit of happiness" which is properly interpreted as Eudaimonia) to trying to create an equality of outcome among it's citizens.

Here is a timely report showing Americans feel a sense of declining personal freedom because of these well intended but ultimately misguided policies since 2010...

At 11/19/2014 02:04:00 PM, Blogger John said...

Two things about science. Firstly regarding your use of single correlation study to highlight the apparent dangers of GMOs, the first thing you learn in university is that correlation does not imply causation. See the website Spurious Correlations for further examples (some funny, some a little alarming):

The US has a lot more going against it than just GMOs (look at education, exercise levels, calorific content of diet (discounting whether the food is GM or not), etc.). There are similar trends in other countries where the levels of GMOs are far below those of the US. It doesn't hold up to scrutiny in my opinion.

Secondly, you seem to trust science when it says that global warming is a threat but not when it comes to GMOs. The jury is well and truly out on GMOs (mainly because there are so many types) and you can't pick and choose which branches of science you like to believe, either you accept the scientific method and trust it or you don't. One particularly powerful study came out recently that looked at animals fed on GMOs and found absolutely no effect. They looked at data from 100 billion animals over 30 years and found no statistically significant effect. This is so much stronger than any case for climate change (not saying climate change isn't happening, just that this study is particularly tight).

Before someone argues that "Those are animals, it could be different for humans" - well, yes it could but given the range of species looked at in the paper and the sheer size of the study, the chances are as close to us seeing Archives Vol. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 out tomorrow as anything really.

At 11/19/2014 03:08:00 PM, Blogger Pnotunr said...

I just watched the movie "GMO OMG" yesterday. They referenced a study with rats noting that the ones that received the GMO feed developed a significant amount of breast tumors while the non-GMO rats did not. It's hard to have a long term study on a relatively new practice, but when you understand how much poison is in GMO corn & soy you do have to admit that it doesn't appear as healthy as those products that are not produced using Monsanto seeds.

At 11/19/2014 09:19:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Hounds That Howl - yes, this is all a mad scientist experiment and we're turning into Frankensteins.

@John - a fair point about picking and choosing. We all have to make decisions and choices about what we know and don't know. We're still searching for a heart of truth ...

@Pnotunr - thanks, we'll check out "GMO OMG".

At 11/19/2014 10:11:00 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Don't take what the old guy writes so seriously...
He's probably just doing what his new gf tells him to do.

At 11/20/2014 12:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monsanto doesn't want GMO labeling because it means people will avoid their products (even if they are safe). It doesn't mean GMO = POISON


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