Posts from the ‘Industrial Farming & related’ Category

US : The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?

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Ronnie Cummins
Organic Consumers Association
Thu, 27 Jan 2011 17:57 CST
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“The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must.” – Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011

In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation’s 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America’s organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it’s time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.

In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and “seed purity,” gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the “conditional deregulation” of Monsanto’s genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa. Beyond the regulatory euphemism of “conditional deregulation,” this means that WFM and their colleagues are willing to go along with the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive GE perennial crop, alfalfa; guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S.

In exchange for allowing Monsanto’s premeditated pollution of the alfalfa gene pool, WFM wants “compensation.” In exchange for a new assault on farmworkers and rural communities (a recent large-scale Swedish study found that spraying Roundup doubles farm workers’ and rural residents’ risk of getting cancer), WFM expects the pro-biotech USDA to begin to regulate rather than cheer lead for Monsanto. In payment for a new broad spectrum attack on the soil’s crucial ability to provide nutrition for food crops and to sequester dangerous greenhouse gases (recent studies show that Roundup devastates essential soil microorganisms that provide plant nutrition and sequester climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases), WFM wants the Biotech Bully of St. Louis to agree to pay “compensation” (i.e. hush money) to farmers “for any losses related to the contamination of his crop.”

In its email of Jan. 21, 2011 WFM calls for “public oversight by the USDA rather than reliance on the biotechnology industry,” even though WFM knows full well that federal regulations on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) do not require pre-market safety testing, nor labeling; and that even federal judges have repeatedly ruled that so-called government “oversight” of Frankencrops such as Monsanto’s sugar beets and alfalfa is basically a farce. At the end of its email, WFM admits that its surrender to Monsanto is permanent: “The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well True coexistence is a must.”

Why Is Organic Inc. Surrendering?

According to informed sources, the CEOs of WFM and Stonyfield are personal friends of former Iowa governor, now USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and in fact made financial contributions to Vilsack’s previous electoral campaigns. Vilsack was hailed as “Governor of the Year” in 2001 by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and traveled in a Monsanto corporate jet on the campaign trail. Perhaps even more fundamental to Organic Inc.’s abject surrender is the fact that the organic elite has become more and more isolated from the concerns and passions of organic consumers and locavores. The Organic Inc. CEOs are tired of activist pressure, boycotts, and petitions. Several of them have told me this to my face. They apparently believe that the battle against GMOs has been lost, and that it’s time to reach for the consolation prize. The consolation prize they seek is a so-called “coexistence” between the biotech Behemoth and the organic community that will lull the public to sleep and greenwash the unpleasant fact that Monsanto’s unlabeled and unregulated genetically engineered crops are now spreading their toxic genes on 1/3 of U.S. (and 1/10 of global) crop land.

WFM and most of the largest organic companies have deliberately separated themselves from anti-GMO efforts and cut off all funding to campaigns working to label or ban GMOs. The so-called Non-GMO Project, funded by Whole Foods and giant wholesaler United Natural Foods (UNFI) is basically a greenwashing effort (although the 100% organic companies involved in this project seem to be operating in good faith) to show that certified organic foods are basically free from GMOs (we already know this since GMOs are banned in organic production), while failing to focus on so-called “natural” foods, which constitute most of WFM and UNFI’s sales and are routinely contaminated with GMOs.

From their “business as usual” perspective, successful lawsuits against GMOs filed by public interest groups such as the Center for Food Safety; or noisy attacks on Monsanto by groups like the Organic Consumers Association, create bad publicity, rattle their big customers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, Costco, Supervalu, Publix and Safeway; and remind consumers that organic crops and foods such as corn, soybeans, and canola are slowly but surely becoming contaminated by Monsanto’s GMOs.

Whole Food’s Dirty Little Secret: Most of the So-Called “Natural” Processed Foods and Animal Products They Sell Are Contaminated with GMOs

The main reason, however, why Whole Foods is pleading for coexistence with Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and the rest of the biotech bullies, is that they desperately want the controversy surrounding genetically engineered foods and crops to go away. Why? Because they know, just as we do, that 2/3 of WFM’s $9 billion annual sales is derived from so-called “natural” processed foods and animal products that are contaminated with GMOs. We and our allies have tested their so-called “natural” products (no doubt WFM’s lab has too) containing non-organic corn and soy, and guess what: they’re all contaminated with GMOs, in contrast to their certified organic products, which are basically free of GMOs, or else contain barely detectable trace amounts.

Approximately 2/3 of the products sold by Whole Foods Market and their main distributor, United Natural Foods (UNFI) are not certified organic, but rather are conventional (chemical-intensive and GMO-tainted) foods and products disguised as “natural.”

Unprecedented wholesale and retail control of the organic marketplace by UNFI and Whole Foods, employing a business model of selling twice as much so-called “natural” food as certified organic food, coupled with the takeover of many organic companies by multinational food corporations such as Dean Foods, threatens the growth of the organic movement.

Covering Up GMO Contamination: Perpetrating “Natural” Fraud

Many well-meaning consumers are confused about the difference between conventional products marketed as “natural,” and those nutritionally/environmentally superior and climate-friendly products that are “certified organic.”

Retail stores like WFM and wholesale distributors like UNFI have failed to educate their customers about the qualitative difference between natural and certified organic, conveniently glossing over the fact that nearly all of the processed “natural” foods and products they sell contain GMOs, or else come from a “natural” supply chain where animals are force-fed GMO grains in factory farms or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

A troubling trend in organics today is the calculated shift on the part of certain large formerly organic brands from certified organic ingredients and products to so-called “natural” ingredients. With the exception of the “grass-fed and grass-finished” meat sector, most “natural” meat, dairy, and eggs are coming from animals reared on GMO grains and drugs, and confined, entirely, or for a good portion of their lives, in CAFOs.

Whole Foods and UNFI are maximizing their profits by selling quasi-natural products at premium organic prices. Organic consumers are increasingly left without certified organic choices while genuine organic farmers and ranchers continue to lose market share to “natural” imposters. It’s no wonder that less than 1% of American farmland is certified organic, while well-intentioned but misled consumers have boosted organic and “natural” purchases to $80 billion annually-approximately 12% of all grocery store sales.

The Solution: Truth-in-Labeling Will Enable Consumers to Drive So-Called “Natural” GMO and CAFO-Tainted Foods Off the Market

There can be no such thing as “coexistence” with a reckless industry that undermines public health, destroys biodiversity, damages the environment, tortures and poisons animals, destabilizes the climate, and economically devastates the world’s 1.5 billion seed-saving small farmers. There is no such thing as coexistence between GMOs and organics in the European Union. Why? Because in the EU there are almost no GMO crops under cultivation, nor GM consumer food products on supermarket shelves. And why is this? Because under EU law, all foods containing GMOs or GMO ingredients must be labeled. Consumers have the freedom to choose or not to choose GMOs; while farmers, food processors, and retailers have (at least legally) the right to lace foods with GMOs, as long as they are safety-tested and labeled. Of course the EU food industry understands that consumers, for the most part, do not want to purchase or consume GE foods. European farmers and food companies, even junk food purveyors like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart, understand quite well the concept expressed by a Monsanto executive when GMOs first came on the market: “If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”

The biotech industry and Organic Inc. are supremely conscious of the fact that North American consumers, like their European counterparts, are wary and suspicious of GMO foods. Even without a PhD, consumers understand you don’t want your food safety or environmental sustainability decisions to be made by out-of-control chemical companies like Monsanto, Dow, or Dupont – the same people who brought you toxic pesticides, Agent Orange, PCBs, and now global warming. Industry leaders are acutely aware of the fact that every single industry or government poll over the last 16 years has shown that 85-95% of American consumers want mandatory labels on GMO foods. Why? So that we can avoid buying them. GMO foods have absolutely no benefits for consumers or the environment, only hazards. This is why Monsanto and their friends in the Bush, Clinton, and Obama administrations have prevented consumer GMO truth-in-labeling laws from getting a public discussion in Congress.

Although Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Democrat, Ohio) recently introduced a bill in Congress calling for mandatory labeling and safety testing for GMOs, don’t hold your breath for Congress to take a stand for truth-in-labeling and consumers’ right to know what’s in their food. Especially since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the so-called “Citizens United” case gave big corporations and billionaires the right to spend unlimited amounts of money (and remain anonymous, as they do so) to buy media coverage and elections, our chances of passing federal GMO labeling laws against the wishes of Monsanto and Food Inc. are all but non-existent. Perfectly dramatizing the “Revolving Door” between Monsanto and the Federal Government, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, formerly chief counsel for Monsanto, delivered one of the decisive votes in the Citizens United case, in effect giving Monsanto and other biotech bullies the right to buy the votes it needs in the U.S. Congress.

With big money controlling Congress and the media, we have little choice but to shift our focus and go local. 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; while on the legislative front we must organize a broad coalition to pass mandatory GMO (and CAFO) labeling laws, at the city, county, and state levels.

The Organic Consumers Association, joined by our consumer, farmer, environmental, and labor allies, has just launched a nationwide Truth-in-Labeling campaign to stop Monsanto and the Biotech Bullies from force-feeding unlabeled GMOs to animals and humans.

Utilizing scientific data, legal precedent, and consumer power the OCA and our local coalitions will educate and mobilize at the grassroots level to pressure giant supermarket chains (Wal-Mart, Kroger, Costco, Safeway, Supervalu, and Publix) and natural food retailers such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to voluntarily implement “truth-in-labeling” practices for GMOs and CAFO products; while simultaneously organizing a critical mass to pass mandatory local and state truth-in-labeling ordinances – similar to labeling laws already in effect for country of origin, irradiated food, allergens, and carcinogens. If local and state government bodies refuse to take action, wherever possible we must attempt to gather sufficient petition signatures and place these truth-in-labeling initiatives directly on the ballot in 2011 or 2012. If you’re interesting in helping organize or coordinate a Millions Against Monsanto and Factory Farms Truth-in-Labeling campaign in your local community, sign up here.

To pressure Whole Foods Market and the nation’s largest supermarket chains to voluntarily adopt truth-in-labeling practices sign here, and circulate this petition widely.

And please stay tuned to Organic Bytes for the latest developments in our campaigns.

Power to the People! Not the Corporations!

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Frankenfoods in Your “Natural” Foods Store: Whole Foods or Whole Hypocrisy?

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Tue, 12 Apr 2011 15:19 CDT
Ronnie Cummins
Organic Consumers Association

© smartlifeways.com

“The reality is that no grocery store in the United States, no matter what size or type of business, can claim they are GE-free. While we have been and will continue to be staunch supporters of non-GE foods, we are not going to mislead our customers with an inaccurate claim… We have advocated for mandatory labeling of GE foods since 1992…”

– Whole Foods Market Internal Company Memo 1/30/2011

“Whole Foods claim they support mandatory labeling of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Well, where are the labels on the vast array of non-organic foods in their stores that contain genetically engineered soybeans, corn, canola, cottonseed oil, or sugar beets? Where are the labels on their so-called “natural” meat, eggs, or dairy products, reared on GMO grains and animal drugs?”

– Protester in front of a San Francisco Whole Foods Market, April 11, 2011

After two decades of biotech bullying by Monsanto and Food Inc., a grassroots movement of organic consumers and farmers is rising up across the United States. Inspired by the success of their European counterparts in driving genetically engineered crops and foods off the market, not through an EU ban, but through mandatory labeling, several thousand protesters took to the streets on March 26, 2011 in 30 different cities, under the banner of “Rally for the Right to Know,” and “Millions Against Monsanto.”

At the same time, anti-GMO activists have stepped up the pace of grassroots lobbying, successfully pressuring state legislators in at least 14 states to introduce bills calling for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Reflecting widespread public concern over the health and environmental hazards of GMOs, recent polls by National Public Radio and MSNBC have found that more than 90% of Americans support mandatory labeling. Mandatory labeling of GMOs, of course, is bitterly opposed by Monsanto and the supermarket lobby, who understand, as a Monsanto executive admitted, “If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”

Angered by the Obama administration’s recent controversial approvals of GMO alfalfa, salmon, sugar beets, and corn, and the compromise or surrender of organic industry leaders, including Whole Foods, in agreeing to accept the “co-existence,” of GMO and organic crops and foods, organic consumers across the U.S. have decided to take matters into their own hands.

Spearheaded by the industry watchdog group, the Organic Consumers Association, and powerful alternative health consumer networks such as NaturalNews.com and Mercola.com, millions of health and environmental-minded consumers are starting to demand that the $60 billion “natural” products industry take GMO products off their shelves, or at least clearly label them, so that consumers can seek certified organic and other GMO-free alternatives.

In an interview at the Green Festival in San Francisco on April 9, Alexis Baden-Mayer, OCA Campaign Director, explained the strategy behind the Millions Against Monsanto Truth-in-Labeling Campaign.

“Over 90% of Americans want GE-tainted foods labeled. Why? So that we can avoid buying these foods. This is a major reason why millions of us are buying certified organic products, which preclude the use of GE ingredients, as well as toxic chemicals and animal drugs. Since the politicians in Washington apparently prefer to listen to Monsanto rather than their constituents, we need to put our efforts where we currently have the most power, in our local communities, especially at the retail grocery store level, where 50 million of us are regularly buying certified organic and so-called ‘natural’ foods.

“What most green consumers don’t understand yet, is that most of the so-called “natural” processed foods and animal products (which make up 2/3 of the sales of Whole Foods Market) that we are still buying are GMO-contaminated. Either they contain GMO ingredients like soy, corn, canola, cottonseed oil or sugar beet sweetener, or else the animals have been force-fed fed a steady diet of GMO grains and drugs.

“We need to clean up our act and walk our talk in the green and natural products sector. We need to tell natural food giants like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s that you can’t claim to support GMO labeling, and then proceed to sell billions of dollars of unlabeled GMO food in your stores, greenwashed as ‘natural.’ We’re protesting this week in front of Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s to make our views on GMOs absolutely clear. Like our banners say: ‘GMOs: Don’t buy them! Don’t sell them! Don’t grow them!’ Once we drive GMOs out of our organic and natural food stores, or at least force retailers to label them, we will then be able to turn our attention to conventional supermarkets and do the same thing.”

“But this means we’ve got to build a mass movement of Millions Against Monsanto. By World Food Day, October 16, we plan to mobilize a powerful and unprecedented coalition that can pressure, and if necessary boycott, industry leaders such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s…”

Across the U.S. and the world, people are fed up. Moving beyond ineffectual compromise and co-existence with a green-washed business-as-usual and politics-as-usual, more and more of us are drawing lines in the sand. Nuclear power, genetic engineering, dirty coal and other out-of-control technologies have revealed themselves for what they really are: deadly threats to our survival. Monsanto has deservedly become one of the most hated corporations on earth. It’s time to drive their evil products out of the marketplace, starting with the green or natural products sector, utilizing the most powerful tools at our disposal, public education, agitation, and Truth-in-Labeling. Get up. Stand up for your rights. Tell Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s to stop selling Monsanto’s unlabeled genetically modified organisms.

Join the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign here.

Comment: To learn more about the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) in ‘Natural’ food products read the following article:

The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?

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If You Find Problems with Genetically Modified Foods: Watch Out!

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Mon, 24 Jan 2011 19:17 CST
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Jeffrey M. Smith
Natural Food List

No GMO

© Unknown
Arpad Pusztai

Biologist Arpad Pusztai had more than 300 articles and 12 books to his credit and was the world’s top expert in his field. But when he accidentally discovered that genetically modified (GM) foods are dangerous, he became the biotech industry’s bad-boy poster child, setting an example for other scientists thinking about blowing the whistle.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Pusztai was awarded a $3 million grant by the UK government to design the system for safety testing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). His team included more than 20 scientists working at three facilities, including the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, the top nutritional research lab in the UK, and his employer for the previous 35 years. The results of Pusztai’s work were supposed to become the required testing protocols for all of Europe. But when he fed supposedly harmless GM potatoes to rats, things didn’t go as planned.

Within just 10 days, the animals developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partially atrophied livers, and damaged immune systems. Moreover, the cause was almost certainly side effects from the process of genetic engineering itself. In other words, the GM foods on the market, which are created from the same process, might have similar affects on humans.

With permission from his director, Pusztai was interviewed on TV and expressed his concerns about GM foods. He became a hero at his institute – for two days. Then came the phone calls from the pro-GMO prime minister’s office to the institute’s director. The next morning, Pusztai was fired. He was silenced with threats of a lawsuit, his team was dismantled, and the protocols never implemented. His Institute, the biotech industry, and the UK government, together launched a smear campaign to destroy Pusztai’s reputation.

Eventually, an invitation to speak before Parliament lifted his gag order and his research was published in the prestigious Lancet. No similar in-depth studies have yet tested the GM foods eaten every day by Americans.

Irina Ermakova

Irina Ermakova, a senior scientist at the Russian National Academy of Sciences, was shocked to discover that more than half of the baby rats in her experiment died within three weeks. She had fed the mothers GM soy flour purchased at a supermarket. The babies from mothers fed natural non-GMO soy, however, only suffered a 10% death rate. She repeated her experiment three times with similar results.

Dr. Ermakova reported her preliminary findings at a conference in October 2005, asking the scientific community to replicate her study. Instead, she was attacked and vilified. Her boss told her to stop doing anymore GM food research. Samples were stolen from her lab, and a paper was even set fire on her desk. One of her colleagues tried to comfort her by saying, “Maybe the GM soy will solve the overpopulation problem.”

Of the mostly spurious criticisms leveled at Ermakova, one was significant enough to raise doubts about the cause of the deaths. She did not conduct a biochemical analysis of the feed. Without it, we don’t know if some rogue toxin had contaminated the soy flour. But more recent events suggest that whatever caused the high infant mortality was not unique to her one bag of GM flour. In November 2005, the supplier of rat food to the laboratory where Ermakova worked began using GM soy in the formulation. All the rats were now eating it. After two months, Ermakova asked other scientists about the infant mortality rate in their experiments. It had skyrocketed to over 55%.

It’s been four years since these findings were reported. No one has yet repeated Ermakova’s study, even though it would cost just a few thousand dollars.

Andrés Carrasco

Embryologist Andrés Carrasco told a leading Buenos Aires newspaper about the results of his research into Roundup, the herbicide sold in conjunction with Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops. Dr. Carrasco, who works in Argentina’s Ministry of Science, said his studies of amphibians suggest that the herbicide could cause defects in the brain, intestines, and hearts of fetuses. Moreover, the amount of Roundup used on GM soy fields was as much as 1,500 times greater than that which created the defects. Tragically, his research had been inspired by the experience of desperate peasant and indigenous communities who were suffering from exposure to toxic herbicides used on the GM soy fields throughout Argentina.

According to an article in Grain, the biotech industry “mounted an unprecedented attack on Carrasco, ridiculing his research and even issuing personal threats.” In addition, four men arrived unannounced at his laboratory and were extremely aggressive, attempting to interrogate Carrasco and obtain details of his study. “It was a violent, disproportionate, dirty reaction,” he said. “I hadn’t even discovered anything new, only confirmed conclusions that others had reached.”

Argentina’s Association of Environmental Lawyers filed a petition calling for a ban on Roundup, and the Ministry of Defense banned GM soy from its fields.

Judy Carman

Epidemiologist Judy Carman used to investigate outbreaks of disease for a state government in Australia. She knows that health problems associated with GM foods might be impossible to track or take decades to discover. Moreover, the superficial, short-term animal feeding studies usually do not evaluate “biochemistry, immunology, tissue pathology, gut function, liver function, and kidney function” and are too short to test for cancer or reproductive or child health. Dr. Carman has critiqued the GMO approval process on behalf of the Public Health Association of Australia and speaks openly about her concerns. As a result, she is repeatedly attacked. Pro-GM scientists threatened disciplinary action through her Vice-Chancellor, and circulated a defamatory letter to government and university officials.

Carman was awarded a grant by the Western Australia government to conduct some of the few long-term animal feeding studies on GMOs. Apparently concerned about what she might find, GMO advocates wrote letters to the government demanding that the grant be withdrawn. One scientist tried to convince the Western Australia Agriculture minister that sufficient safety research had been conducted and he should therefore cancel the grant. As his evidence, however, he presented a report summarizing only 60 GMO animal feeding studies – an infinitesimal amount of research to justify exposing the entire population to GM foods.

A closer investigation, however, revealed that most of the 60 were not safety studies at all. They were production studies, measuring, for example, the animals’ carcass weight. Only 9 contained data applicable to human health. And 6 of the 9 showed adverse effects in animals that ate GM feed! Furthermore, there were several other studies with adverse findings that were mysteriously missing from the compilation. Carman points out that the report “does not support claims that GM crops are safe to eat. On the contrary, it provides evidence that GM crops may be harmful to health.”

When the Western Government refused to withdraw the grant, opponents successfully interfered with Carman’s relationship with the university where she was to do the research.

Terje Traavik

Prominent virologist Terje Traavik presented preliminary data at a February 2004 meeting at the UN Biosafety Protocol Conference, showing that:

1. Filipinos living next to a GM cornfield developed serious symptoms while the corn was pollinating;

2. Genetic material inserted into GM crops transferred to rat organs after a single meal; and

3. Key safety assumptions about genetically engineered viruses were overturned, calling into question the safety of using these viruses in vaccines.

The biotech industry mercilessly attacked Dr. Traavik. Their excuse? – he presented unpublished work. But presenting preliminary data at professional conferences is a long tradition in science, something that the biotech industry itself relied on in 1999 to try to counter the evidence that butterflies were endangered by GM corn.

Ironically, three years after attacking Traavik, the same biotech proponents sharply criticized a peer-reviewed publication for not citing unpublished data that had been presented at a conference. The paper shows how the runoff of GM Bt corn into streams can kill the “caddis fly,” which may seriously upset marine ecosystems. The study set off a storm of attacks against its author, ecologist Emma Rosi-Marshall, which Nature described in a September 2009 article as a “hail of abuse.”

Companies Prevent Studies on Their GM Crops

When Ohio State University plant ecologist Allison Snow discovered problematic side effects in GM sunflowers, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Dow AgroSciences blocked further research by withholding GM seeds and genes. After Marc Lappé and Britt Bailey found significant reductions in cancer-fighting isoflavones in Monsanto’s GM soybeans, the seed seller, Hartz, told them they could no longer provide samples. Research by a plant geneticist at a leading US university was also thwarted when two companies refused him GM corn. In fact, almost no independent studies are conducted that might find problems. According to a scathing opinion piece in an August 2009 Scientific American, “Agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers. . . . Only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal.”

A group of 24 corn insect scientists protested this restriction in a letter submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency. They warned that the inability to access GM seeds from biotech companies means there can be no truly independent research on the critical questions. The scientists, of course, withheld their identities for fear of reprisals from the companies.

Restricted access is not limited to the US. When a Japanese scientist wanted to conduct animal feeding studies on the GM soybeans under review in Japan, both the government and the bean’s maker DuPont refused to give him any samples. Hungarian Professor Bela Darvas discovered that Monsanto’s GM corn hurt endangered species in his country. Monsanto immediately shut off his supplies. Dr. Darvas later gave a speech on his preliminary findings and discovered that a false and incriminating report about his research was circulating. He traced it to a Monsanto public relations employee, who claimed it mysteriously appeared on her desk – so she faxed it out.

GMO Contamination: Don’t Ask and Definitely Don’t Tell

In 2005, a scientist had gathered seed samples from all over Turkey to evaluate the extent of contamination by GM varieties. According to the Turkish Daily News, just before her testing was complete, she was reassigned to another department and access to her lab was denied.

The unexpected transfer may have saved this Turkish scientist from an even worse fate, had she discovered and reported contamination. Ask Ignacio Chapela, a microbial ecologist from UC Berkeley. In 2001, he discovered that the indigenous corn varieties in Mexico – the source of the world’s genetic diversity for corn – had become contaminated through cross pollination with GM varieties. The government had a ban against GM corn to prevent just this possibility, but apparently US corn imported for food had been planted nonetheless.

Dr. Chapela submitted the finding to Nature, and as a courtesy that he later regretted, informed the Mexican government about the pending publication. He was called in to meet with a furious Director of the Commission of Biosafety and GMOs. Chapela’s confirmation of contamination would hinder introduction of GM corn. Therefore the government’s top biotech man demanded that he withdraw his article. According to Chapela, the official intimidated and threatened him, even implying, “We know where your children go to school.”

When a traumatized Chapela still did not back down, the Underminister for Agriculture later sent him a fax claiming that because of his scientific paper, Chapela would be held personally responsible for all damages caused to agriculture and to the economy in general.

The day Chapela’s paper was published, Mary Murphy and Andura Smetacek began posting messages to a biotechnology listserve called AgBioWorld, distributed to more than 3,000 scientists. They falsely claimed that Chapela was biased, that his paper had not been peer-reviewed, that Chapela was “first and foremost an activist,” and his research was published in collusion with environmentalists. Soon, hundreds of other messages appeared, repeating or embellishing the accusations. The listserve launched a petition and besieged Nature with a worldwide campaign demanding retraction.

UC Berkeley also received letters from all over the world trying to convince them not to grant Chapela tenure. He had overwhelming support by his college and department, but the international biotech lobby was too much. Chapela’s tenure was denied. After he filed a lawsuit, the university eventually reversed its decision.

When investigators later analyzed the email characteristics sent by agitators Mary Murphy and Andura Smetacek, the two turned out not to be the average citizens they claimed. According to the Guardian, both were fabricated names used by a public relations firm that worked for Monsanto. Some of Smetacek’s emails also had the internet protocol address of gatekeeper2.monsanto.com – the server owned by Monsanto.

Science and Debate is Silenced

The attacks on scientists have taken its toll. According to Dr. Chapela, there is a de facto ban on scientists “asking certain questions and finding certain results.” He says, “It’s very hard for us to publish in this field. People are scared.” He told Nature that young people “are not going into this field precisely because they are discouraged by what they see.”

New Zealand Parliament member Sue Kedgley told a Royal Commission in 2001: “Personally I have been contacted by telephone and e-mail by a number of scientists who have serious concerns about aspects of the research that is taking place . . . and the increasingly close ties that are developing between science and commerce, but who are convinced that if they express these fears publicly, . . . or even if they asked the awkward and difficult questions, they will be eased out of their institution.”

University of Minnesota biologist Phil Regal testified before the same Commission, “I think the people who boost genetic engineering are going to have to do a mea culpa and ask for forgiveness, like the Pope did on the inquisition.” Sue Kedgley has a different idea. She recommends we “set up human clinical trials using volunteers of genetically engineered scientists and their families, because I think they are so convinced of the safety of the products that they are creating and I’m sure they would very readily volunteer to become part of a human clinical trial.”

Jeffrey M. Smith is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology and the leading consumer advocate promoting healthier non-GMO choices. His first book, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating, is the world’s bestselling and #1 rated book on GMOs. His second, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, documents 65 health risks of the GM foods Americans eat every day.

Reader Note

To help you choose healthier, non-GMO brands, download the free Non-GMO Shopping Guide produced by the Institute for Responsible Technology.

To keep up with breaking news about food safety visit www.responsibletechnology.org, and to learn what actions others are taking go to the IRT’s Fan Page at www.facebook.com/responsibletechnology.

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Mexico rejects Monsanto’s GMO corn

found on : http://dprogram.net

(NaturalNews) – Mexican officials seem to have more common sense than American officials, with their continued denouncement of Monsanto’s genetically-modified (GM) corn. Mexico has kept in effect a moratorium on Monsanto’s GM corn since 2005, citing a lack of safety studies and evidence showing the “Frankencorn” is safe, and that it will not cross-contaminate non-GM crops. The Mexican government recently denied Monsanto’s request to expand a pilot program for its crops in Northern Mexico as well.

In 2009, Mexico decided to allow Monsanto to plant small GM corn test sites on the condition that the company could both prove that its crops were resistant to pests and pesticides, and that they could provide economic benefits to Mexico. Monsanto has yet to show that the crops actually benefit people rather than its own pocketbook, and of course the multinational biotechnology company has yet to submit a single legitimate safety study for its crops.

The Mexican govenment seems to have had enough of the games, it seems, having recently denied any further expansions of the Monsanto test sites. With its many varieties of heritage corn, Mexico has a lot to lose if its corn stocks become contaminated with Monsanto’s patented corn varieties. So it is pressing for more safety studies before any further plantings take place.

To date, there has never been a single, verifiable safety study proving that any GMO is safe for people or for the environment. GMO residues, however, are known to travel to nearby fields and contaminate conventional and organic crop varieties. In fact, most of North Dakota is now blanketed in GMO canola, as the mutant crop now infests fields and meadows, and grows by roadside all across the midwestern plain state (http://www.naturalnews.com/030810_G…).

GMOs are linked to a host of animal and human health problems as well, including rapid aging, organ dysfunction, infertility, autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and altered insulin regulation, among other conditions. In fact, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called for a moratorium onGMOsback in 2009, and warned the public to avoid them (http://www.naturalnews.com/026426_G…).

Sources for this story include:

http://www.mexico.vg/businesses/mex…

http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-ma…

http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2011/01/2…

Source: Natural News

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People Power: Percy Schmeiser v.s. Monsanto

http://www.sott.net 

Mon, 10 Jan 2011 22:49 CST
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Politicol News

Percy Schmeiser 

© Politicol News
The Man who Beat Monsanto and Won against GMO Farming.

A Canadian Farmer tells the story of how a corporation by the name of Monsanto tried to take his farm, his land and his life away.

How he Fought Back and Won!!

This is not only a take over of Canadian farms but a problem that is happening all around the world and Monsanto is bent on controlling the seeds of plants that produce food for the world. Their believe is that “he who controls the seed, controls the world” and their goal is world domination to control the food greed and power.

Among the changes in agriculture in Canada and the United States and who owns life forms on the planet is at question. Here a large corporation called Monsanto claims they are God and own the seed to grow foods.

The presumption is that any genetically modified seed belongs to them by the form of a patent. But they intentionally spread the seeds to infect organic farms and then take the farmer to court basically to bankrupt them and put them out of business.

This is what happened to Percy Schmeiser of Saskatchewan in Canada which is the agricultural heartland of Canada’s food for Canadians.

Percy Schmeiser_1 

© Politicol News
Percey Schmeiser Did not Want Monsanto to Take His Farm and He beat Them in Court.

GMO crops were introduced in 1996 in soya, corn, cotton and grapeseed (canola) crops and the promises were from Monsanto was increased yields, more nutritious, less chemicals and food that would be plentiful so we can feed the hungry world in sustainable agriculture. All of those promises turned out to be false.

The GMO seeds required more chemicals and they dominate any farmers fields killing off the organic plants. This plan of Monsanto would effectively give them a monopoly with no competition from any other food producer and it was almost successful.

Monsanto claims that they own all seeds, and all seeds consumed by any life form and that means they own you. The insanity continues to this day with patent infridgment cases.

This corporation has taken farmers to court, have stripped them of their very land, and have the audacity of stealing people’s livelihoods hoping that they can put every farmer out of business.

Percy Schmeiser_2 

© Politicol News

Percey Schmeiser and his Wife Louise Fought Passionately for their Farm.

The story is riveting and makes a person consider if you have children or grandchildren like Percy does, what kind of world will you leave for future generations. Percy was concerned about Monsanto controlling and contaminating his seeds and taking away his farm and he fought against it. 

Percy worked on farming and developed his own seeds for 50 years, and Monsanto threatened them, intimidated them and tried to take their land away because they owned their own brand of seed. Hardly a claim to owning “all the seeds” but they attempted to do this by cornering farmers and beating them down in courtroom trials while running up expenses.

Monsanto threw everything and the kitchen sink at Percy and his wife and Percy fought back. Percy loved his farm and he loved his wife and his kids and his grand kids. He worried about what Monsanto was doing to food, the same food that would feed generations to come with poison.

But mainly Percy did not quit and he persisted in numerous court challenges that Monsanto threw his way to stop one Canadian farmer with guts and ethics.

Listen to Percy’s Story about what Monsanto did to him, his farm and his life as a farmer. Percy was a specialist in breeding and growing canola seeds and plants.

Percy speaking in Pennsylvania Warning Other Farmers to Stop Monsanto dead in their tracks before the Monsanto GMO seeds contaminate their farms.

What is being proposed as Percy says, is that you will not have the right to grow your own plants, even in your own back yard for home gardens.

Organic farms will be put out of business because Monsanto will own the seeds, and the rights to the seeds no matter if there is contamination and the GMO seeds are dominant seeds, which will take over all farming lands and plantings.

This is all with the written permission of the US government who are getting campaign kickbacks from Monsanto. The FDA has also colluded with Monsanto and drug company interests.

The whole idea is to make the seeds of plants only controlled by Monsanto and they will all be genetically modified seeds, none will be organic or natural.

Percy Schmeiser Tells of Monsanto’s Plants to Dominate the World’s Food Supply

The Terminator Gene is a gene that is put into a seed, when the seed becomes a plant, that plant will not seed again it will be terminated. Basically this accomplishes sterility in plants.

Monsanto will make this a law so that any farmer has to buy only GMO seeds from Monsanto over and over again and they will again dominate the world.

Another modification Monsanto has in store is called the Cheater Gene which appears to be a normal plant but with the addition of more chemicals it becomes another terminator gene and the plant will not be able to seed or be reproduced through it’s own seeds.

Monsanto will kill any seeds that are organic, they will produce low quality chemicals put into seeds that will require an increasing amount of chemicals to maintain and only Monsanto chemicals like Round Up will be used.

The control will be with this corporation only and they want to control all farms and your food supply. This is a pretty insane company with some grand ideas of world domination. for their egos but they will be stopped sooner than they think.

No one Wants to Eat Contaminated GMO Foods

95 % of the people polled in January 2011 said they will not eat Genetically Modified Foods acording to an NPR poll.

GMO products are not labeled for a reason and that is because no one would eat them if they knew what was in the food. Mostly all corn is now genetically modified along with soy plants and more genetic altering is underway.

Last summer the FDA approved a genetically modified salmon and now science has moved from plants and seeds to animals and reproduction of strange animals that do not exist naturally. The giant salmon was created to make more money for the fish industry and food producers but it is entirely unnatural and these fish are untested.

GMO foods will also will contain prescription drugs and vaccines in plants even sterilization drugs and psychiatric drugs without you knowing about it. Last year Health Canada seemingly approved putting chemo drugs in french fries. The story was quickly taken out of the media but it is most likely in the works. Consumers will not know what drugs are their food with a government controlled industry the drug and food production corporations have teamed up.

The foods are being poisoned and right now the Canadian and US government are being fooled by Monsanto and farmers are being robbed of their farms.

The future of this diabolical corporation will surely meet with its own death eventually but people must demand their government to put a stop to the corporate control of the food supply.

Percy Appears in New Mexico

We need more people like Percy Schmeiser and more Canadian farmers with a backbone to break the back of this corporate self interests of Monsanto and their attempts to control the world’s food supply for greed and profit.
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Update: Farm Animals Get 80 Percent of Antibiotics Sold in U.S.

http://dprogram.net

Posted by sakerfa on December 28th, 2010

(Wired) – Two weeks ago, I broke the news of a new FDA report that estimated for the first time the amount of antibiotics sold in the United States every year for use in agriculture: 28.8 million pounds.

That long-awaited report didn’t answer a crucial question: What volume of antibiotics are sold in the United States each year for human use. It’s a crucial question because, in answer to concerns about antibiotic resistance arising on farms, the answer has always been that human medicine is equally culpable because it uses similar volumes of antibiotics.

The only research that has attempted to answer that question is contained in a decade-old report by the Union of Concerned Scientists that put the proportion of antibiotics going to animals at 70 percent of the U.S. total.

That UCS report and estimate are a decade old not because no one has cared about the topic, but because accurate updated figures have been so hard to get. So we owe a special holiday thank-you to the researchers at the Center for a Livable Future, who decided the release of the FDA report justified another attempt to get the numbers straight. They succeeded.

The proportion of antibiotics sold in the United States each year that go to animals turns out to be not 70 percent, but rather 80 percent. Here’s CLF’s Ralph Loglisci, who got the confirmatory numbers from the FDA:

In accordance with a 2008 amendment to the Animal Drug User Fee Act, for the first time the FDA released last week an annual amount of antimicrobial drugs sold and distributed for use in food animals. The grand total for 2009 is 13.1 million kilograms or 28.8 million pounds. I … contacted the FDA for an estimate of the volume of antibiotics sold for human use in 2009. This is what a spokesperson told me:

Our Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology just finished an analysis based on IMS Health data. Sales data in kilograms sold for selected antibacterial drugs were obtained as a surrogate of human antibacterial drug use in the U.S. market. Approximately 3.3 million kilograms of antibacterial drugs were sold in year 2009. OSE states that all data in this analysis have been cleared for public use by IMS Health, IMS National Sales Perspectives™.”

3.3 million kilograms is a little over 7 million pounds. As far as I can determine, this is the first time the FDA has made data on estimates of human usage public.

At its blog, CLF lays out the math for each major drug class as sold for animal use and human use, with a long discussion of the significance of the different drug classes. Here’s the CLF table summing up the math, but please go over to CLF’s blog for its discussion.

Most important to note: Most of the drugs used in animal agriculture and in human medicine are functionally identical. That’s one reason why the overuse of antibiotics in animals is such a concern: When organisms become resistant on the farm to drugs used on livestock, they are becoming resistant to the exact same drugs used in humans. (One major drug category used in animals, ionophores, do not have a direct human analog. But use of them on farms is still a concern, because resistance factors can move freely between species of bacteria. That’s a discussion for another day.)

Loglisci’s conclusion is also worth underlining:

The next battle, which industry has already begun, is defining what non-therapeutic use will constitute. Producers are already claiming that the use of antibiotics for growth promotion has decreased, maintaining current low-dose usage is aimed at disease prevention. Regardless, all low-dose usage of antibiotics can lead to a significant increase in antibiotic resistance.

Source: Wired

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U.S. Farmers Realize Disadvantages of Genetically Engineered Seed

http://www.sott.net

Tiffany Kaiser
DailyTech
Wed, 06 Oct 2010 00:04 CDT

© teeth.com.pk
An anti Monsanto sign in a crop field
Seed farmers throughout the United States are complaining that biotech seeds (which are genetically altered seeds) are becoming much too expensive, resistant to weed killer, and can contaminate conventional seed crops. However, they still continue to use the seeds. But with anti-competitive practices being investigated on biotech seed companies, seed farmers may change their minds.

“The technology has really been hyped up a lot,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, author of a 2009 study for the Union of Concerned Scientists, which concluded that yield increases have come mainly from conventional plant breeding. “Even on a shoestring, conventional breeding outperforms genetic engineering“.

Genetically altered seed is used by a majority of U.S. farmers because weeds at one time were much easier to kill with herbicides such as Roundup. Also, these biotech crops, like corn, contained genes that allowed them to “manufacture” their own insecticide meaning farmers did not have to pay money and spend time killing insects with store-bought insecticides. In addition, biotech seed companies like Monsanto have created a monopoly in the seed business, buying smaller seed businesses and selling nothing but their genetically engineered seed. Traditional seed has even become hard to find because most “crop improvements” produced by conventional plant breeding are only sold together with biotech traits.

But with rising costs and recent resistance to herbicides, biotech seed has become less favorable and farmers are taking notice. For instance, last year, the price of biotech soybean seeds rose 24 percent while corn seed rose 32 percent. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the anti-competitive practices of Monsanto, and Monsanto is countering by saying it plans on offering more seed options at lower prices next year.

“There just isn’t competition out there,” said Craig Griffieon, a farmer in Ankeny, Iowa.

Biotech crops have grown resistant to herbicides mainly in cotton fields in the Southern United States where giant ragweed and horsetails are affecting thousands of acres. But the problem is spreading toward the Midwest now as well.

As far as genetic contamination of traditional crops that are grown near biotech crops goes, farmers have testified that biotech crops have lowered the value of their conventional crops.

“If you’ve got your conventional seed right next to your neighbor’s [biotech] seeds, the pollen flies,” said John Schmitt, a farmer from Quincy, Illinois who had to sell a third of his conventional corn for much lower prices due to genetic contamination. “It’s nature.”

A majority of farmers still use biotech seed also because they believe that biotech seed yields more crop at harvest, but even Monsanto doesn’t argue that most of the increase in crop yields is due to traditional plant breeding. Conventional seeds produce just as well as biotech seeds, but as noted before, conventional seed is becoming harder to find.

While biotech seed is used more so than conventional, farmers are slowly getting the picture by realizing that there aren’t many benefits to genetically altered seed as opposed to conventional seed. According to the latest statistics, the amount of farms using biotech seeds only rose one percent last year, from 85 percent to 86 percent. This is the smallest increase since 2001. In Illinois specifically, the percentage of acres using biotech corn seed decreased from 84 percent to 82 percent, where soybeans reduced as well from 90 percent to 89 percent.

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