Thursday, August 21, 2014

WHY WE CAN'T WAIT ON GMO LABELING - IMPLICATIONS ON THE PATENTING OF ALL LIFE

GMO Debate Heats Up on Mainstream News


Article imageChristina Sarich

NationofChange / News Report

Published: Wednesday 20 August 2014

Why are scientists hell-bent on maintaining the human gene theory and their ability to alter it? Watch out because the rest of us are just starting to figure it out.

The debate on the dangers of GMO seem like they should already be a foregone conclusion, but with industry cover-ups of scientific data, and rigged research, biotechnology advocates are still pushing the safety of genetically modified organisms unchecked. In another attempt to discredit non-GMO supporters, C-Span recently debuted a 2-hour debate at the Vail Symposium in Colorado, between consumer advocate and Executive Director ofInstitute for Responsible Technology, as well as maker of the documentary, Seeds of Deception, Jeffrey Smith, and doctor of biotechnology and entrepreneur Gregory Stock who has written a book called, “Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future.” I can’t help but add that this title alone smacks of the ideas of ‘the singularity’ – the notion that scientists can create a ‘super-human’ while discarding those of us who are merely just ‘human’.
As usual, the biotechnology side tried to discredit the messenger, and not the clear scientific message, by discounting Smith’s background, but during the long discussion, topics ranging fromthe ethics of GMOs, the role of the government in GMO production and licensing of GM seed, GMO labeling, and the potential for GMO to solve world hunger were contended. Audience member questions were also addressed.


As Smith explained, currently there are nine GMO crops planted across our nation: soy, corn, canola, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, zucchini, yellow squash and papaya. These genetically altered crops are on our plates due to a sentence in the US Food and Drug Administration’s policy from 1992, which basically states that the agency is not aware of any information which shows that GMOs are significantly different than non-GMO foods, and therefore no safety testing is necessary, and no labeling is necessary.
This logic can be traced to vintage propaganda campaigns when our physicians told us that smoking cigarettes was good for us. Warning labels did not appear on packages of RJ Reynolds products until the 1970s. While American Indians smoked natural herbs, cigarettes full of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals were not labeled for over a hundred years after their introduction into mainstream consciousnessWe can’t wait that long with GMOs
 The ‘science’ which biotech experts hold on to is unproven. It is based on assumptions made about GMO without long-term trials and much of truth about GMO dangers is dismissed or blatantly ignored. Furthermore, Stock’s own bio states that he believes in “aggressive biomedical funding and research, and for cautious governmental oversight.” Our government, has in fact, provided scant intervention for the good of public health and has done little more than give Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, and the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association carte blanche to wield genetically modified crops on the world like more of a bio-terror weapon than a food source. Many have called Monsanto the ‘poster child for corporate deceit and manipulation.’ The reach of this monstrosity of a company goes further than our own shores, too.

In Indonesia, Monsanto executives infiltrated and paid off more than 140 officials in order to get their modified cotton seeds approved. In 1998, six Canadian scientists testified that they were being pressured by their Monsanto-influenced superiors to approve rbGH, a genetically created growth hormone imagined by the biotech giant. They attest that documents were stolen from a locked file cabinet and Monsanto offered them a $2 million bribe to pass the drug without further testing. In India, one officialtampered with the report on Bt cotton to increase the yield figuresto favor Monsanto. These tactics have been repeated in Brazil, Europe, and other countries worldwide.

Even more shocking is that Monsanto has been working with Blackwater (Academi), a private security firm, to target non-GMO activists and organizations.  Why does a food-making company need a black-ops association if their food is so safe to eat? With facts like these becoming abundantly apparent, it makes listening to any GM-advocate leave a bad taste in your mouth. How can you trust them? Were they paid off? Are they a spy sent by Blackwater to spread disinformation? Why are there no long-term trials on GMO before they are given government approval, and how have our 1000-year old farming practices been so completely devastated after just 50 years of Big Ag intervention? Is this all just a sneaky campaign to get us to accept genetically modified humans?

GM scientists seem hell-bent on maintaining the human gene theory, and their ability to alter it. And GMO crops are possibly the predecessors.

Other applications of genetic engineering change the genes in eggs, sperm, or very early embryos. This affects not only any children you might have, but also all succeeding generations. It opens the door to the reconfiguration of the human species. The technical term for this application is "germline" genetic engineering (because eggs and sperm are the "germinal" or "germline" cells). Altering mosquitoesbananas, cotton, or soy is just the beginning.

While Scott addresses the dangers of biotech’s creations, Stock ignores a longer-range ideology, which he seems to hold for himself. When will people ask the real questions associated with GMO? We’re just beginning to figure this all out.
You can see the entire two-hour video aired on C-span, here

SOURCE:  http://www.nationofchange.org/gmo-debate-heats-mainstream-news-1408596922

Friday, August 15, 2014

MONSANTO SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL BROKEN DOWN

Monsanto's Position on Labeling GMOs

Robyn O'Brien - Monday, January 20, 2014
I recently read Monsanto's proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Monsanto is the chemical company that makes genetically engineered ingredients now found in our food supply, and I was curious if shareholders were making any noise since a growing number of food companies are now opting out.   
From Cheerios'  announcement to remove genetically engineered ingredients from its iconic original cereal, to Chipotle and Whole Foods commitments to either going non-GMO or to labeling these ingredients in their stores, to Kroger's commitment to expanding its Simple Truth product line, the company is in a new position - defending the use of its products while also defending the fact that these ingredients were put into the food supply without informing the public.
Monsanto is a chemical company that introduced a new operating system for our food system in the 1990s. It is a brilliant revenue model for a  chemical company, as they created a system in which seeds are now hardwired to withstand record doses of their chemicals.  Soybeans were suddenly branded  RoundUp Ready Soybeans and engineered to withstand record doses of their weed killer RoundUp.  RoundUp Ready corn was engineered to do the same.  RoundUp Ready sugarbeets, increasingly pervasive in everything from cereal to candy, was also engineered to withstand record doses of their weed killer.  As you might expect, sales of this chemical weed killer, RoundUp,  brought financial stability to the company's earnings model.
But it is also introducing liability, as seen in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission: Notice of Annual Meeting of Shareowners and 2013 Proxy Statement.
The challenges now in front of the company were recently brought to light in a "shareowner proposal"  in their December 2013 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission: Notice of Annual Meeting of Shareowners and 2013 Proxy Statement  In it, Monsanto writes: "Food is one of the most important and significant facets of our world. It is a critically important issue to everyone and is the focus of debates and dialogues from the halls of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, to the grocery store aisles in Buenos Aires..."
Around the country, Americans are taking notice, too. 
The company responded and disclosed its position on labeling:
"Our work in agriculture represents just one component of a broad and diverse food value chain that involves many parties. The proponent is seeking a report about the impact of the company’s working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to effect a change in labeling on consumer food products. These are not Monsanto products nor are they manufactured, controlled, packaged or labeled by our company. We sell seed to farmers, who often sell their crop harvest to a grain processor, who sells grain or ingredients to a food company, who may further process the ingredients, then manufacture the food item, which it then sells to a retailer, who ultimately sells the finished product to a consumer. As a company that is focused on agricultural productivity and which sells products to farmers our position in the chain does not afford us the expertise that would inform an assessment of consumer food packaging information."
Can you imagine if Intel operated this way? Let's take that last sentence and rephrase it for the semiconductor chip maker. 
We make a semiconductor chip, but because we sell it to computer makers who then sell it to wholesalers who then sell it to retailers, as a company that is focused on productivity, our position in the chain does not afford us the expertise that would inform an assessment of computer packaging information.  
There would be no way of knowing which parts of the operating system were functioning as promised and which parts might be detrimental to the system. 
Instead, Intel proudly stood behind their products and launched "Intel Inside."
The same has been asked of Monsanto, with consumer groups like "Just Label It" and "GMO Inside" asking for labeling.  Monsanto backs away from labeling their products, saying in the SEC filing:
"We support current FDA guidance on food labeling which is based on the attributes of the food itself. In the United States, the FDA regulates the safety and labeling of foods and food products derived from crops (conventional, GM, and organic), and all must meet the same safety requirements. FDA guidance requires labeling of food products containing ingredients derived from GM crops if there is a meaningful difference in composition, nutrition or safety between that food and its counterpart derived from conventional crops. In the absence of such a difference, the FDA has determined that mandatory labeling is not required. The American Medical Association (AMA) supports the FDA’s approach and approved a formal statement asserting that there is no scientific justification for special labeling of foods containing GM ingredients. FDA guidance does not require labeling of production practices used by farmers employing conventional or organic methods to control weeds and pests and improve their yields."
While claiming that there is no difference in their product, Monsanto fails to highlight that their products make the attributes of the food so different that they are patented by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for their unique traits and characteristics.  These unique attributes enable them to charge a premium to farmers for their use and also enable them to charge farmers royalty fees, licensing fees and trait fees.  The company also fails to highlight that American food companies either label or avoid the use of their products in the foods that they manufacturer overseas. 
But most importantly, Monsanto does not highlight that the American Medical Association requested that because these products are not labeled in our food supply, pre-market safety testing of these products should be mandatory. (Chicago Tribune: GMOs Should Be Safety Tested Before They Hit the Market, Says AMA) .
Can you imagine if Boeing were allowed to operate this way?  If the National Transportation Safety Board or Federal Aviation Administration allowed airplanes into the sky with a new operating system without mandatory pre-market safety testing? Or if the companies making the engines inside of them, were able to say "as a company that is focused on productivity, our position in the chain does not afford us the expertise that would inform an assessment of packaging information"? 
It is not surprising the food industry is beginning to opt out of these ingredients and this operating system.  It is the fiduciary duty of the executives of these food companies to deliver earnings, respond to consumer demand and capture market share, while reducing liability. A fiduciary duty is the legal duty of a fiduciary, directors or executives of food companies, to act in the best interests of the beneficiary, their shareholders.
If the company making these genetically engineered products is unwilling to display a label and accept liability for their ingredients, why should Nestle, Kraft, Coca Cola or any others in the space do the same?
In the first few weeks of 2014, both General Mills and Post have announced that they are dropping genetically engineered ingredients from products in response to consumer demand.  It's the fiduciary duty of executives at other companies to do the same.
Follow Robyn on Twitter @unhealthytruth and on Facebook.  She is a former financial analyst and author.
Sources:

GMO and FOOD-USE PESTICIDE SPIN VS REALITY

gmo-lettuceFood Fascists: GMO and Pesticide Manufacturers Down and Dirty



After decades of rearing hogs, Danish farmer IbBorup Pedersen was alarmed at the growing incidence of malformations and biological defects among his newborn piglets. Deformities included gaps in piglets’ skulls, deformed bones, missing limbs and even a female piglet with testicles. Never having witnessed such large numbers of deformed pigs before, Pedersen realized that it was after switching three years earlier to Monsanto’s GMO feed– which had been grown with glyphosate–that these birth defects began to appear. Pedersen had the piglets’ bodies sent to a Danish laboratory for analysis. The results were clear; there were high concentrations of Monsanto’s glyphosate pesticide, commonly known as Roundup, in the piglets’ organs.[1] The analyses’ findings were subsequently published in a recent Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology,[2]

Pedersen’s experience is another blow against Monsanto’s public relations campaign to convince governments, farmers and consumers that Roundup is one of the world’s safest pesticides and poses no risk to animal and human health. For many years Monsanto has stood by this myth with fanatical religious fervor against all existing independent evidence to the contrary.
While there are an increasing number of studies in the scientific literature identifying the health risks associated with GMO consumption and glyphosate independently, no research has yet been conducted to assess the combined synergistic adverse effects of GMOs and pesticides in animal models and humans. The original foundation of agricultural biotechnology was to advance sales of pesticides by engineering crops to become immune to toxic spraying. While weeds and insect pests would be eradicated, targeted crop would be spared, thereby allowing farmers to spray massive amounts of chemicals on soy, corn, cotton, sugar beets and other agricultural foods without injury. This was the assumption that led to the agro-genetic revolution. Only during the past decade with more and more GM products in our diets, and more and more farm acreage being sprayed with glyphosate and other toxic pesticides and herbicides, are the long term health risks to animals, humans and the environment being more fully recognized within the scientific community.
Annual runoffs of pesticides into rivers, streams and reservoirs have complicated the extent to which humans are being exposed to life threatening chemicals on a daily basis. It was never the mission of Monsanto and the cartel of agro-chemical seed companies to increase yields and produce drought resilient crops. The evidence of higher GM crop yields was an aftereffect. However, data are now coming in from independent agro-science community showing that the years of higher GM yields are short lived and drop dramatically thereafter to levels far below those yields harvested from traditional, organic farming methods.
Glyphosate’s adverse effects on Pedersen’s piglets is only one example of the pesticide’s health risks. In a major paper published by Earth Open Source, “GMO Myths and Truths: An Evidence-Based Examination of the Claims Made for the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops,” Kings College molecular geneticist Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist John Fagan and GM Watch’s Claire Robinson outline the known health risks now shown to be associated with glyphosate:
  • DNA damage
  • Premature births and miscarriages
  • Birth defects including neural tube defects and anencephaly (absence of large parts of the brain and skull
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Disruption of neurobehavioral development in children, including attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder[3]
Since the release of the study in the journal Entropy, a researcher at MIT and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists have discovered that glyphosate is in fact taken up by plants from the soil and found in our food—an accusation Monsanto continues to deny. The study says that the negative impact of glyphosate accumulation “is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.” In addition to being linked with problems ranging from cancer to infertility, a connection may also be made to the rising number of adults acquiring Parkinson’s Disease.[4] A couple earlier studies on individual cases found a correspondence between glyphosate exposure and the onset of Parkinson’s.[5] There are now growing concerns that glyphosate consumed by mothers and infants in GM tainted foods might be giving rise to the autism epidemic that continues to worsen each year and now stands at almost 1 in 50 children.
With each passing year, the body of scientific data challenging the safety of glyphosate expands. In several peer-reviewed studies conducted by researcher Andres Carrasco of the University of Buenos Aires, glyphosate was observed to cause teratogenic impairment of neural signaling and microcephaly, leading to craniofacial malformations.[6]
In early 2014, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study linking glyphosate runoff in Sri Lanka’s water systems to an epidemic rise in a fatal unknown chronic kidney disease or CKDu. Until recently scientists were unable to offer up evidence of what has been causing this new form of illness affecting the kidneys. Similar observations have been made in El Salvador and Nicaragua where more men die of CKDu than AIDS, diabetes and leukemia. However, in each regional population studied, Roundup exposure is rampant. Sri Lankan scientists hypothesize that glyphosate, originally discovered to act as a chelating chemical in 1964, takes up toxic heavy metals and binds them in the kidney without the body’s detection. According to the researchers, the buildup of these heavy metals ultimately leads to kidney failure and death.[7]
In early 2014, the Ministry of Health in Cordoba, Argentina noted a dramatic rise in deaths from cancerous tumors– twice the national average. It just so happens that the elevated rates of malignancies were being reported in those regions where GM crops and toxic agrochemicals are most readily used.[8]
GMOs’ health risks to animals and humans are also being reported more frequently in the scientific literature. Corporate agro studies claiming GMOs are safe will generally rely upon a research methodology that employs a variety of so-called “reference” diets to the animals under investigation. These convoluted studies are designed intentionally to produce an abundance of data without any standard reference control group. This enables corporate scientists to conflate and distort results. This common industry practice was recently exposed by Claire Robinson at GM Watch regarding a published DuPont study on the safety of its Roundup Ready canola. Robinson points out that “poor experimental design” is intentionally utilized to cover over toxic effects.
A new study in rats conducted by Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen identified changes in gene expression in sperm cells capable of altering androgen and estrogen sex hormones. The study suggests that glyphosate may be altering human reproduction. The rate of male fertility in the US has been dropping steadily since GM foods started to saturate the average American diet. Today, according to the American Pregnancy Association, 1 out of every 6 men in couples is infertile.[9]
Another major blow against Monsanto has been the republication of Dr. Seralini’s earlier paper showing a correlation between severe kidney and liver damage, advanced tumors and pre-mature death in rats fed Monsanto’s NK603 maize in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe. Seralini’s paper has undergone more scientific review and scrutiny than any other study either proving or disproving GMO safety. With its republication, the paper should officially replace Monsanto’s flawed safety study purporting the health safety of its NK603 corn.[10]
Monsanto must rely on a veil of secrecy, claiming to protect its proprietary information, in order to avoid revealing to the public its actual data about GMO safety. In the absence of credible science to engage in an honest debate with the scientific community opposing the proliferation of GMOs, the company must resort to the lowest and most vicious tactics. Attacking the integrity of scientists, launching smear campaigns against GMO labeling advocates, organic farmers, cyber attacks on anti-GMO organizations, and threats of lawsuits against state governments and media outlets advocating or even suggesting mandatory labeling are becoming more frequent. For example, supporters of GMOs have recently pressured Reuters to fire veteran journalist Carey Gillam for reporting fairly on GMOs.[11] With approximately 50% of its revenues generated from the sale of GM seeds, it is highly unlikely that Monsanto will ever admit defeat. Rather it will use whatever means necessary, except acknowledging scientific evidence, to silence its enemies. Today Monsanto is scared to death over its future. Like any psychopathological madman or Wall Street banker, it will use whatever means available to preserve and expand its revenue markets, even if it means inflicting pain, suffering and even death upon Indian and Filipino farmers, rather than acknowledge its technology is a curse to humanity and the environment.
Fortunately during the past six months there has been a dramatic turning of the tide against Monsanto and other GM seed companies. Around the world the Big Ag giant is recognized as the most dangerous, most-hated corporation on the planet. The good news is that Big Agriculture’s imperial strategy for global food domination has been hit with setback after setback as national and local governments realize that genetically modified foods pose serious dangers to human and environmental health as well as national food security. Local populations and farmers who switched to GM seeds are becoming more vocal about the failure of GM promises and want to hold these private companies accountable. Already ninety percent of UN member nations, including most of Europe, either require GM labeling or have banned GM crops. Hungary officially prohibits GMOs in its national Constitution. In Brazil, the world’s largest producer of GM soy, the country’s leading conglomerate of soy traders, the Association of Vegetable Oil Industries, will no longer accept Monsanto’s Itacta soybeans.[12] Without having the blessing from the US government and the WTO, Monsanto’s sphere of markets would dry up. Therefore, the GMO industry, in collusion with the US State Department, has had to focus its attention on Africa and South and Southeast Asia, those regions that appear to be the most susceptible to accepting GMO myths.
As nations take a step back and reconsider the threats of climate change and global warning to future food supplies, GMOs are steadily failing to hold up to their promises of higher yields and drought resistance. To the contrary, study after study lean towards the conclusion that GMO-based agriculture may be the most dismal failure since humans first started sowing seeds and harvesting crops. In June, the Guardian reported that the introduction of Monsanto’s Roundup Btbrinjal eggplant into Bangladesh is facing widespread collapse, with a failure rate of four out of five farms.[13] GMO soy and corn are rapidly losing their pest resistance. Bugs and weeds are turning into mega-threats to the future of yields of staple crops, which the industrial makers of processed foods depend on. Farmers in Latin America are demanding compensation from Big AG companies such as Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and Dow for unexpected financial duress and being forced to purchase larger quantities of pesticides in order to sustain their harvests. In Brazil, after only three years of GM Bt cultivation, pest resistance has been observed. Similar observations are being reported in Btmaize in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Philippines, South Africa and US, and in Bt cotton in Australia, China, India and the US. Last month American scientists confirmed that rootworms destroying corn fields are no longer resistant to GMO corn.[14]
An article in India’s Hindustani Times states that “There are over 500 research publications by scientists of indisputable integrity, who have no conflict of interest, that establish harmful effects of GMO crops to human, animal and plant health, and on the environment and biodiversity… On the other hand, virtually every paper supporting GM crops is by scientists who have declared conflict of interest or whose credibility and integrity can be doubted.[15] Monsanto’s Bt cotton in India has been particularly disastrous to hundreds of thousands of farmers. Aside from the oft-reported epidemic of farmer suicides who fall into debt and poverty after buying into Monsanto’s GM cotton—farmer suicides have now reached over 270,000—pest resistance is rampant, further weakening the natural immunity of GM plants and predisposing them to less serious pests. India is also witnessing record numbers of cattle die-offs after grazing on post-harvest cotton plants. Regions with higher proportions of Bt cotton farming are confronting grim water futures because GM agriculture requires more irrigation than traditional farming methods. Last March the Indian state of Karnataka banned Bt cotton seeds following pervasive crop failures.[16]
One of the most massive GMO failures, spanning a decade, has been the deplorable collapse of the introduction of GM corn in the Philippines. The decimation of Filipino corn farmers came to world attention following the release of the film “Ten Years of Failure” which follows the lives of farmers whose families fell into debt and poverty after the introduction of GM corn by the Philippine government in cooperation with the US government and Monsanto.[17] Intent on avoiding a similar fate to Brazilian corn farmers, a Brazilian court banned the release of Bayer’s GM corn. The ruling now establishes a new precedent that will make the approval of future GMOs in that country more difficult.[18] And China’s recent rejection of GMO corn importation has agro-giants further worried as one of their largest potential markets takes a step back to reevaluate the safety and environmental impact of GMOs.
An association between the rapid demise of bee populations and the neonicotinoid class of pesticides has already been proven in the scientific literature. European nations are now banning the use of neonicotinoids to protect domestic bee and other pollinator populations. Recent studies reveal that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicideis likewise are contributing to the decline of honeybee populations. During the first week of August, Mexican beekeepers in the state of Yucatan won a victory to halt Monsanto’s plans to plant thousands of acres of Roundup ready soybeans. After a careful review of the science, a Mexican judge ruled that GMO soy agriculture is an economic threat and incompatible with the state’s honey production, home for 25,000 families involved in producing 40% of Mexico’s honey exports. The ruling is having a rippling affect across other Mexican states involved in honey production.[19]
Big Ag’s only response to the failures of its genetic experimentation has been to increase the development new GM seeds to compensate for the failures of the old ones. In addition to genetically engineering seeds to withstand every higher levels of pesticides, new traits are being genetically engineered to withstand other toxic chemicals. In the US, millions of acres of farmland growing GM corn, cotton and soy are experiencing invasions of super weeds resistant to over-pesticide use. As pesticide use increases, soil quality is further depleted and yield per acre drops dramatically. The economic costs to farmers are becoming unsustainable as expenditures to fight pests and weeds increase and harvests diminish. A recent trend among farmers to revert back to traditional or organic methods is gradually taking hold. This aligns well with the last UN Commission on Trade and Development report warning against corporate dominated monoculture farming methods and promoting farm diversity and small scale organic farming as the most sustainable way to feed to the world’s population.[20]
Aside from glyphosate, other pesticides are being genetically engineered into new lines of GM Seeds. New varieties of GM cotton and soy are in Monsanto’s pipeline and will likely pass with minimal review through the USDA and FDA. These new GM strains now include resistant genes to the pesticide dicamba. In addition to glyphosate’s long list of human health risks, dicamba, a known neurotoxin, has been linked to adverse reproductive and mental development effects. Against strong public opposition, the US government will also likely approve Dow Agroscience’s new Enlist corn and soy strains, a toxic cocktail of glyphosate and the herbicide 2-4 D, best known as a major toxic ingredient in Agent Orange that “has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, kidney/liver damage and birth and developmental effects.”[21] Agent Orange contamination has resulted in genetic abnormalities and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Its use as a bioweapon in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos is a sad reminder of the extremes the US willing to take at the cost of innocent lives to reach its foreign policy objectives. And now, out of desperation to preserve agro-chemical agriculture and the GM corporations revenues, the US government will resurrect one of the most toxic agrochemicals known and introduce it into America’s food supply.
American acceptance of GMOs has been based upon unproven hypothesis of “substantial equivalence” for over two decades. This ruling by the USDA during the early years of the Clinton White House gave GM seed companies a free pass to avoid submitting evidence provingGM food safety. Since the ruling claims that GMOs are identical to non-GMOs no compliance of safety regulations would apply. Therefore Big Ag firms do not have to worry over strict regulatory hurdles, which otherwise apply to other products such as pharmaceutical drugs, processed foods, pesticides, cosmetics and chemical additives. However, a recent flurry of research is now showing “substantial equivalence” is patently false. Alexandria University in Egypt, the Permaculture Research Institute and the Norwegian Center for Biosafety each found GMO crops to be fundamentally different to their natural counterpart. In addition, new studies are also showing that nutrient levels in traditional and organically raised crops are substantially higher than GM varieties.
Aside from the scientific evidence and popular blowback condemning GMOs, the agro-chemical industry is facing other challenges. If the US government is unable to assume a leading role in the endeavor to save American agriculture from a major systemic collapse, nor support the agricultural sustainability and food security in other regions of the world, perhaps other nations will.
In recent months, Russia has assumed an international leadership role to confront the remaining uncertainties in the debate over GMO safety. Russia has already placed a 3-year moratorium ban on GMO imports. Prime Minister Medvedev is on record stating that Russia can be “self sufficient” with only organic farming. The government is now requesting the UN General Assembly to create an international GMO watchdog organization to monitor Big Agriculture’s activities to influence other nations to accept GM seeds and support independent research into the long term impacts of GMOs. Unlike the US, the Russian government values the voice of its people with over 75% of Russians preferring organic produce.[22] On the other hand, over 90% of Americans support GMO-labeling, yet Washington prefers to protect corporate interests.
However, the most important initiative Russia plans to undertake is the creation of an international and independent team of researchers from the US, UK, France, China and Russia to conduct long term studies to determine once and for all GMO risks to human health, and whether or not GMO crops might be used as genetically engineered bioweapons to destroy ecosystems and threaten the lives of populations. The project is being launched by a Russian NGO, Genetic Safety Public Association, after it noted that a 2004 meeting of the NATO Committee on the Challenges to Modern Society discussed the topic ofGMOs’ potential use as “genetic weapons.” If properly funded, this would be the most thorough international effort, without support from Big Ag corporations, to provide transparent, publicly available data to settle the question over GM safety.[23]
In conclusion, the good news is that GMO propaganda is increasingly being exposed as fallacious. As time passes, more and more research will inevitably emerge to further damn Monsanto and the GM experiment. It is only a matter of time before the false promises of GMOs will be exposed as orchestrated by Big Ag and the US government to control the world’s food supply.
This is not to suggest that GM foods will disappear. Rather we can expect an increase in a new volley of propaganda coming from private industry and the US government tclaiming GM industrial agriculture is an urgent solution to combat climate change and global warming, a global threat worrying national economies throughout the world. We can expect to hear more scientific denialism and junk science promulgated by the White House, the small gangs of scientific determinists funded by Big Ag and the pharmaceutical industry, and major media presstitutes. We can expect to hear ever wilder and more irrational claims about how GMO-based agriculture might reduce CO2 greenhouse pollution and save humanity. In fact this was Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent drivel at the US-African Leaders Summit in early August, urging African nations to “concentrate on existing farmlands to make them more productive” rather than expanding and developing new lands for agriculture. Kerry, who has repeatedly proven to be a worthy successor to Monsanto’s former mouthpiece Hillary Clinton, frequently regurgitates Monsanto propaganda during his foreign policy circus roadshows. And expect new trade agreements, written by corporations such as Monsanto to be rammed through the international community by the US and its allies that espouse the Washington Consensus to enforce international acceptance of GMOs.
In short, out of desperation to reach global food dominance, the agro-chemical industry and the US government will be declaring a full food war against the peoples of the world.
Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio Network and a former Senior Research Analyst in the biotechnology and genomic industries.
Gary Null PhD is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on nutrition and natural health and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs, which is available for free viewing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUd9rRSLY4A#t=24
Notes
[1] Jeff Ritterman, One Little Piggy Had Birth Defects: Is Monsanto’s Roundup to Blame? Truthout.org August 8, 2014
[2] Monika Krüger1, Wieland Schrödl1, Ib Pedersen2 and Awad A Shehata Detection of Glyphosate in Malformed Piglets J Environ Anal Toxicol 2014, 4:5 2014 http://omicsonline.org/open-access/detection-of-glyphosate-in-malformed-piglets-2161-0525.1000230.pdf
[3] M Antoniou, J Fagan, C Robinson “GMO Myths and Truths: An Evidence-Based Examination of the Claims Made for the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops,” Earth Open Source. June 2012 p. 66
[4] “Roundup, An Herbicide, Could be Linked to Parkinson’s, Cancer and Other Health Issues, Study Shows” Reuters. April 25, 2013
[5] Gang Wang, Xiao-Ning Fan, Yu-Yan Tan, Qi Cheng, Sheng-Di Chen Parkinsonism after chronic occupational exposure to glyphosate. Parkinsonism RelatDisord. 2011 Jul;17(6):486-7. Epub 2011 Mar 2
[6] Alejandra Paganelli , Victoria Gnazzo , Helena Acosta , Silvia L. López , and Andrés E. CarrascoGlyphosate-Based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid Signaling Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2010, 23 (10), pp 1586–1595
[7] ChannaJayasumana, SarathGunatilakeand PriyanthaSenanayake Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(2), 2125-2147
[8] Dario Aranda “Cancer Danger in the GMO Fields” Pagina 12 (Argentina), June 23, 2014
[10] Claire Robinson. “Republication of the Seralini Study: Science Speaks for Itself.” GMOSeralini.org June 24, 2014 http://www.gmoseralini.org/republication-seralini-study-science-speaks/
[11] Ken Roseboro. “Biotech’s Assault on Balanced Journalism” Huffington Post, June 4, 2014 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ken-roseboro/biotechs-assault-on-balan_b_5432699.html
[13] Guardian Newspaper Report Admits Widespread Failure of GM Btbrinjal” GMWatch June 5, 2014
[14] Deirdre Fulton, GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Bugs Common Dreams 30 July 14
[15] Pushpa M Bhargava
 US is trying to control our food production Hindustan Times, August 7, 2014
http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/analysis/us-is-trying-to-control-our-food-production/article1-1249456.aspx
[16] “Karnataka bans Mahyco’s Cotton Seeds” Business Standard (india) March 28, 2014
[17] “Ten Years of Failure, Farmers Deceived by GM Corn” MASIPAG (Philippines) October 16, 2013
[18] “In Historic Ruling, Brazilian Court Prevents the Release of Transgenic Corn from Bayer” Terra de Direitos (Brazil) March 13, 2014
[19] Sweet victory for Mexico beekeepers as Monsanto loses GM permit” The Guardian, August 8, 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/aug/08/sweet-victory-beekeepers-monsanto-gm-soybeans
[20] UN Report Says Small Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World.” Technology Water. December 14, 2013 http://www.technologywater.com/post/69995394390/un-report-says-small-scale-organic-farming-only-way-to
[21] New Wave of Herbicide-Tolerant Crops Awaiting Likely U.S. Approval eNews Park Forest August 8, 2014 http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54647-new-wave-of-herbicide-tolerant-crops-awaiting-likely-u-s-approval.html
[22] “World Needs UN GMO Watchdog – Russia” RT June 5, 2014 http://rt.com/news/163852-russia-un-gmo-watchdog/
[23] Christina Sarich. “Russian Activists Conduct Independent Studies Proving GMOs Could be Genetic Weapons.” Natural Society 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

WILL $3 BILLION US FARMER LOSSES DUE TO REJECTED GMOs -CHINA, RUSSIA AND THE E.U. -FORCE THE USA TO RETHINK THE GMO MARKET?

2014 813 corn fw China Is Rejecting GMO Corn and That Isn't Good for American Farmers

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 11:07 By Anna Brones, Care2 | Report
Dried up corn stalks (Photo: Bark / Flickr)
The industrial agribusiness has embraced GMOs in the United States, but it’s having a serious effect on farmers. Most recently, China began rejecting a variety of genetically modified US corn, and the rejection is reportedly costing American farmers upwards of $3 billion, according to the National Feed and Grain Association.
The genetically engineered corn in question is one invented by the seed company Syngenta. The new gene has yet to be approved in China — in fact, it has been waiting for approval for four years. Since November, China has rejected more than 1.45 million metric tons. The corn was diverted to other buyers, but as the NFGA stated, it “almost assuredly would have negotiated a discount,” which means fewer dollars for American farmers.
A rejection of US grain in China has serious consequences here on home turf, as the country is one of the top importers of US corn, and its demand is projected to grow. But not if GMOs are involved.
GMOs have become an increasing concern in China. This spring, the Chinese Army banned all GMO grains and oil from its military supply stations. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “because of public concern over health risks and high-level discomfort with China becoming overly reliant on GMO strains developed by foreign companies, China has stopped short of allowing commercial distribution of GMO grains.”
China isn’t the only one. Russia has now announced that it won’t import GMO products, and the United States is having a hard time reaching a trade deal with the European Union because of GMOs.
Who should the farmers blame? The governments that don’t want the grain or the companies making them? They’re unsure.
According to NPR:
A few days ago, the US Grains Council wrote a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, urging his “immediate, direct, and personal intervention” with Chinese officials “to halt this current regulatory sabotage of the DDGS trade with China.”
The NGFA and the North American Export Grain Association, on the other hand, have called on Syngenta to stop selling the offending corn varieties until those varieties can be sold in major export markets.
“They’re being a bad actor here,” says Max Fisher of NGFA, referring to Syngenta. “They’re making $40 million” selling the new corn varieties, “but it’s costing U.S. farmers $1 billion.”
While companies will certainly find other channels for their grain, there’s no denying that the economic blow to farmers may fuel the conversation on GMOs moving forward.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/25550-china-is-rejecting-gmo-corn-and-that-isnt-good-for-american-farmers

Friday, August 8, 2014

NO TO GMO - MEXICAN JUDGE SPARES 253,000 hectares (625,000 acres) OF MEXICAN LAND AND BEES FROM GMO CROP

MDG : Monsanto GM soya impact on honey bees protest in Yucatan Peninsula in mexico

Sweet victory for Mexico beekeepers as Monsanto loses GM permit

Evidence convinced judge of threat posed to honey production in Yucatán – but firm will almost certainly appeal against ruling
Greenpeace activists and Mayans form a human chain to spell out the words ‘ma ogm’, which translates as ‘no gmo’ (genetically modified organisms). Photograph: Arturo Rocha/Greenpeace
A small group of beekeepers in Mexico has inflicted a blow on biotech giant Monsanto, which has halted the company’s ambitions to plant thousands of hectares of soybeans genetically modified to resist the company’s pesticide Roundup.

A district judge in the state of Yucatán last month overturned a permit issued to Monsanto by Mexico’s agriculture ministry, Sagarpa, and environmental protection agency, Semarnat, in June 2012 that allowed commercial planting of Roundup-ready soybeans.

The permit authorised Monsanto to plant its seeds in seven states, over more than 253,000 hectares (625,000 acres), despite protests from thousands of Mayan farmers and beekeepers, Greenpeace, the Mexican National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas and the National Institute of Ecology.

In withdrawing the permit, the judge was convinced by the scientific evidence presented about the threats posed by GM soy crops to honey production in the Yucatán peninsula, which includes Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán states. Co-existence between honey production and GM soybeans is not possible, the judge ruled.

Mexico is the world’s six biggest producer and third largest exporter of honey. About 25,000 families on the Yucatán peninsula depend on honey production. This tropical region produces about 40% of the country’s honey, almost all of which is exported to the EU. This is not small change: in 2011, the EU imported $54m (£32m) worth of Mexican honey.

The concerns are multiple. Roundup-ready crops – soybeans, corn, canola, sugar beets, cotton and alfalfa – have been manipulated to be resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

Some argue that glyphosate poses a risk to human and animal health, a claim that Monsanto and other agribusinesses reject.

In addition to health risks, environmental damage to soil, water and bee colonies – which are dwindling fast – have been attributed glyphosate use, threatening food and water security across the globe.

GM crops could devastate the important European export market for Mexican beekeepers, where the sale of honey containing pollen derived from GM crops has been restricted since a landmark decision in 2011 by the European court of justice.

The ruling barred honey derived from a GM crop unapproved for human consumption – which includes some soy and other animal feeds – from sale in the EU. Honey with more than 0.9% of GM pollen (from an approved GM food) must be labelled as containing GM ingredients and cannot be marketed as an organic product. Some countries, including Germany, reject honey that contains any GM pollen.

A small study conducted in Campeche, where about 10,000 hectares of GM soybeans were planted after the permit was approved in 2012, found GM pollen in some honey samples destined for the European market. This, say the authors, threatens the local honey industry and contradicts the position taken by Sagarpa and industry groups that soybeans are not visited or pollinated by bees searching for food because they can self-pollinate.

The Monsanto ruling was commended by the respected national newspaper La Jornada, which accused the Mexican government of ignoring widespread concerns over GM and forcing those opponents to fight it out in court with powerful multinational companies. The government’s stated ambition of eliminating hunger is incompatible with its decisions to increasingly allow multinational companies such as Monsanto to introduce GM crops, the paper’s editorial concluded.

Central to the ruling was the Mexican constitution, specifically the government’s obligation to fully consult indigenous communities before making any major decision about what happens, including what is grown, on their territory. The judge ordered planting to stop and gave Sagarpa six months to carry out full and proper consultations with indigenous farmers – which it should have done before the permit was granted in 2012.

It was this same omission that led to an almost identical ruling by a district judge in Campeche in March 2014.

These two judgments have set a precedent that will help farmers, campaigners and environmentalists take local legal action against the rollout of GM soy and corn, which the federal government is sanctioning without consultation and against experts’ advice.
But this is a high-stakes game to play, in which indigenous communities are being forced to fight their own government and multinational corporations with multimillion-dollar legal departments, simply to have their constitutional rights honoured and protect their traditional ways of farming and living.

So while a third victory in Chiapas, where a similar case is pending, could soon follow, this is almost certainly only round one. Monsanto will probably appeal against the decision to a higher court.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, criticised by some for crippling small-scale Mexican farming, is not on the side of the beekeepers. This David and Goliath battle is about so much more than honey.

Source:
  http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/aug/08/sweet-victory-beekeepers-monsanto-gm-soybeans