Posts tagged ‘GM Food’

Why the EU should not follow GE path to agricultural Armageddon ……………

Blogpost by Lasse Bruun – November 12, 2012 at 10:19

When a warning comes loud and clear from someone who has lived through what can only be described as agricultural Armageddon, it’s usually a good idea to heed their advice.

Close up of an ear of corn.

This week Greenpeace has linked European farmers, decision makers and consumers with American famers and an agricultural scientist to give a picture of what we could expect if we follow the path of US and Argentinean agriculture.

And this is not a path you’d want to take.

Greenpeace commissioned renowned agricultural economist Dr. Charles Benbrook to produce the first ever forecast of how Europe would be impacted if the European Commission goes ahead with its plan to authorise the cultivation of so-called herbicide tolerant genetically engineered (HTGE) crops.

 

24 August 2012Wendel Lutz is one of two American farmers featured in the Greenpeace film, ‘Growing Doubt’

The forecast gathers eyewitness accounts from Wendel Lutz and Wes Shoemyer, two American farmers featured in our documentary Growing Doubtfilmed in Argentina and the US. Farming communities have talked to us about how herbicide tolerant crop monocultures have affected their economy, environment and society. And now the US farmers are travelling with Greenpeace on an 18 day tour of Europe, inviting farmers groups, local communities and national politicians at each stop to discuss their growing concerns about these threats.Their message is clear: European agriculture will be irreparably damaged if HTGE is allowed to be cultivated.

So, who would actually benefit from HTGE crops?

Ecosystems and biodiversity will of course not benefit from having more agrochemicals sprayed on them.

If we are to learn anything from the experiences of our American visitors, many European farmers can expect inflated seed prices, more expenses for buying much more pesticides and the heavy labour and increasing cost trying to get rid of the resistant weeds that inevitably follow the HTGE crops . And those would be the lucky ones.  A lot of farmers would simply cave in to the “big boys” who will be leading the farm consolidations that seem to follow the HTGE crops marching in.

Dr. Benbrook’s forecast paints an especially grim picture for Europe: if EU farmers take up HTGE technology as quickly as in the US, glyphosate use in maize crops – the most important and widely grown crop in Europe – will increase by over 1,000% by 2025 over current use, and total herbicide use will double.

Where there are HTGE crops, farmers seem struggle, communities suffer and costs increase. The effects ripple out across rural communities right up to our supermarket shelves.

It’s time to act.

We have to push the European Commission extra hard to ensure that HTGE crops aren’t given the green light for cultivation. Once we open the floodgates for HTGE there will be no turning back – the farmers we’ve spoken to in Argentina and the US can attest to this. In the words of Wes Shoemyer:  “So far, the EU has stood very firm. It still has a chance to retain its independence, to retain its integrity.”

EU decision makers must decide: are they going to support the environment, farmers, consumers, and their constituents or are they going to support the agroindustry breathing down our necks?

We can see where the HTGE path leads and it’s not one we should be forced to follow.

Share our solutions with your friends – check out what Greenpeace is doing for a healthier agricultural system.

Lasse Bruun is a Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner at Greenpeace International

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

http://www.sott.net

Ronnie Cummins
Organic Consumers Association
Thu, 27 Jan 2011 17:57 CST
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© justpiper.com

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

http://www.sott.net

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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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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Food “Safety” Bill Empowers Monsanto To Control Food Industry

Thu, 13 Jan 2011 18:55 CST
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Stephanie Spinelli
TruthSquad.TV

Monsanto to enforce food regulation.

Under the guise of protecting Americans from food-borne illnesses, Congress has passed the S510 Food Safety Act, granting unlimited power to the FDA to oversee the processing of food from farm to table. The FDA has led the public to believe over a number of years that we desperately need government protection from food-borne illnesses. As a result of this manipulation, the S510 Food Safety has been passed without opposition. Ironically, the regulatory actions made possible by this bill will only promote the type of farming that produces food borne illnesses.

The S510 Food Safety Act will regulate the entire process of food production from every source in the United States. Farms must submit to government inspections and have safety documentation on record for 2 years. This documentation must be made promptly available upon oral or written request by an FDA agent. Farms are responsible for the fees associated with their own inspections. The FDA will also oversee food transportation within the United States; food imported from other countries will not be regulated but must simply carry a guarantee of safety by the exporting country. This imbalance in addition to the bill-related costs imposed on farmers will cause prices of locally produced food to increase exponentially.

Starting with the enactment of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) measures by President Bill Clinton in the 90’s, the biotech/agribusiness industry has been making the necessary moves to arrive at this point; while HACCP is focused on prevention, the S510 Food Safety is focused on inspection. Combined, these laws will enable the FDA to completely control the process of food production. As if controlling our food weren’t enough, the agribusiness industry is voraciously seeking to have vitamins and supplements be redefined as drugs, so that the FDA can limit the amount that can be legally purchased. Once we can no longer take the proper amounts of nutrients for prevention of disease, we will be forced to turn to the pharmaceutical industry for medication.

As the bill is written, the FDA must consult with “farmer representatives” to publish guides for good practice. The farmer representatives will no doubt include Monsanto, the biotech company standing behind the bill that stands to benefit from it the most. The FDA is intimately linked with Monsanto – Michael Taylor, a lawyer who volleys between an appointed post at the FDA and employment by Monsanto, pushed through the concept of “substantial equivalence“, which opened the doors for Monsanto to flood the market with unlabeled Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s). In July 2009, the Obama Administration appointed Taylor “Food & Drug Czar” as head of the FDA. This move ensures Monsanto’s influence of its own regulation. The fox now has the keys to the hen house.

S510 grants the FDA and in turn, Monsanto, unbridled power to make all of their own rules for governing food going forward:

‘No Limit on Secretarial Authority- Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the ability of the Secretary to review and act upon information from food testing, including determining the sufficiency of such information and testing.’

The FDA will determine if, when, and what types of food safety testing are necessary. “In the interest of national security“, the FDA will decide what information will be made available to the public. In keeping with their trend of raiding farms and markets that sell raw milk, the bill also provides for the organizing, training and equipping of animal, plant, and food emergency response teams.

Police raid organic market with guns drawn.

Police raid organic market with guns drawn.
The L.A. Times reported that in June of 2010, four officers raided Rawesome Foods, an organic food co-op in Venice California, with their guns drawn. The officers were in search of raw, unpasteurized milk. Cartons of raw goat’s and cow’s milk as well as blocks of unpasteurized goat cheese were among the groceries seized by federal, state and local authorities. If raw milk could produce such an excessive show of force when there were no laws being broken, what will happen now that there is a law in place?

Interestingly, the bill includes a provision requiring parents to provide documentation to their children’s school regarding any food allergies their children have. On the surface, giving the school administration advance notice of an allergy seems like a good thing; however, as Truth Squad has previously reported, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Fusion Centers” across the country are consolidating and standardizing the databases of local and federal agencies in an attempt to fight foreign and domestic terrorism. These “fusion centers” violate the 4th & 5th Constitutional Amendments and set up frightening Stasi-like government lists, with no judge, no jury, no due process. Do you want your child in the DHS database?

Since the bill was first introduced in March of 2009, articles written about it have done their best to squelch any fears consumers might have of losing their favorite local farmers’ markets by supposing they would not be included. This created false hope: Within the US, “very small businesses” are to be regulated, including farmers markets, farm stands and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s). In fact, the only exclusion is food grown for personal consumption. In other words, our only hope is to each learn how to grow our own food, because the day is coming when that will be the only food safe to eat.

“If you control the food, you can control the people.” – Henry Kissinger


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Non GMO Month: An Interview with Jeffery Smith

Sun, 03 Oct 2010 15:53 CDT

Jeffrey Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology, is leading the movement to eliminate genetically modified foods in the United States.

Here, Smith offers an update on this important mission to protect your health, and that of your children and grand-children.

Sources:

Video Transcript [PDF]

Dr. Mercola’s Comments

Together we CAN get GMOs banned from the US. Europe was able to do it over a decade ago without any government assistance. All they did was educate the consumers, and that was enough pressure on the food industry to drop their ploys.

If we band together as an effective army we will be able to do this. Please understand that the VAST majority of people in the US do not want GM foods, so this is an EASY battle to win. All we have to do is a bit of organizational work.

So let me tell you how we are going to achieve the removal of GMOs in the US.

October is Non-GMO Month, and you’ve been receiving a lot of important information about genetically engineered foods this week.

October 10th (10/10/10) is Non-GMO Day, so I’m pleased to bring back Jeffrey Smith, the real leader behind this movement to eliminate GM foods from the US market, for another interview.

This month, Jeffrey’s organization, Institute for Responsible Technology, is launching a plan to bring their message to the necessary numbers of people to create a tipping point that can effectively drive GM foods off the market. Nearly 400 retail stores selling natural products around the country are already actively promoting the information about choosing healthier non-GMO products.

I’m thrilled to be part of this movement, and I strongly urge you join us.

The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) has created a variety of tools that will make it easier for you to choose non-GM foods, and this is the way to eradicate GMO’s from your local store. If no one wants to buy them, stores can’t sell them, and will simply stop ordering them. Food manufacturers will have to adjust and quickly change their ingredients or risk losing their business.

It’s really that simple!

Remember, you as a consumer is still at the top of the food chain.

The Tipping Point is Near – The Time to Join is NOW!

In this interview, Jeffrey shares some of the history of his organization and what they’ve gone through over the last 15 years to get to this point, and why it’s so important that we all act now.

“In [the beginning of] 1999, the biotech industry… was still anticipating that they could replace 95 percent of all commercial seeds with genetically engineered seeds within five years… But a single high profile GMO food safety scandal erupted in middle of February 1999.

Dr. Arpad Pusztai… has been gagged and told that if he talked about what he knew, he would be sued. Well, by an order of parliament, his gag order was lifted and he could finally talk about how he discovered that genetically engineered foods were inherently unsafe and could create all sorts of damage – just from the process itself, irrespective of what gene you put in.

Seven hundred and fifty articles were written within a month, and within 10 weeks virtually every major food company committed to stop using GM ingredients in Europe because it had become a marketing liability.

They weren’t instructed to do that by the government. They were instructed to do that by consumers at the top of the food chain.”

How many Americans do we need to convince to avoid eating genetically modified foods to achieve the same victory in the US?

We believe it’s only about FIVE PERCENT of US shoppers!

So, changing the shopping habits of about 5.6 million households may be sufficient to eliminate GMOs in the US.

That is our goal!

We already have these numbers on our side. About 28 million Americans buy organic on a regular basis. Eighty-seven million Americans think GMOs are seriously unsafe. A hundred and fifty nine million Americans, the majority, say they would avoid GMOs if labeled!

Unfortunately, no labeling is required, making your commitment to avoid GM foods all that more complicated. But that’s where we come in.

How You Can Help Others to Avoid GMO Foods

Most people want to avoid GMO foods but it is virtually impossible to do so, since the government prevents GMO labeling.

However, Jeffery Smith has compiled a resource for you to avoid the government block of information. It is the free Non-GMO Shopping Guide. We realize that with the challenging economy it is very difficult for many to donate money to help this cause, so we are merely asking for your time and connections with your family and friends.

You can really help by making this message go viral. So if you are convinced that GMO foods should not be in the US, please send this information to everyone you know; post it on Facebook and Twitter…

You can also print out the Non-GMO Shopping Guide and give it to your friends and family.

If you feel more ambitious you can also order the Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure in bulk, and bring them to the grocery stores in your area. Talk to the owner or manager and get permission to post them in their store.

Who Will You Share this Information With?

We have the tools right now to make a national movement quicker and more complete than any time in history. One important part of this message is that buying organic whenever you can is not enough to actually ban GM foods…

Instead, what is needed is the consensus that “I buy organic whenever I can, but if I don’t buy organic, I buy non-GMO.”

Remember, this also includes dairy from cows treated with rBGH, as it is a genetically engineered growth hormone, and the artificial sweetener aspartame, which is derived from GM microorganisms.

If those of you who already buy organic whenever possible also always avoid GM foods when you can’t get organic, then we can reach the tipping point.

You can help nurture this consumer mindset by bringing information to your local natural food store owner, so that she can share it will all of her customers as well. IRT has created a complete Retailer Campaign Kit for this purpose.

You can also share information with your child’s school, your health care providers, and food manufacturers. The IRT has created information kits for all of them, available here:

  • Heath care provider kit
  • Parents and Schools educational material
  • Manufacturers information kit

Please remember to share this with your friends and family, but do so lovingly. You don’t want to make yourself a pest and risk your relationship with them. But believe me, this is a MUCH easier sell than getting them to stop smoking or eating less sugar since most do not want GMOs anyway, and it doesn’t involve giving anything up.

You may even want to share this information with your church or religious leaders. As Jeffrey says,

“There are certain religious groups that think the genetic engineering process itself violates God’s laws. So ‘GMO’ for them really means, ‘God Move Over’ and not ‘Genetically Modified Organism.'”

The Non-GMO Project

“Now the good thing about the natural products industry today is the Non-GMO Project movement,” Jeffrey says. “A couple of years ago, the leaders of the natural food industry got together and backed a new standard for making non-GMO claims, and they called it the Non-GMO Project.

Now there are thousands of products enrolled in the Non-GMO Project, and you’re going to start to see a little seal on packages, just like the organic seal.

You’re also going to see something called Non-GMO Project Verified, meaning that the claim that something is non-GMO is now backed by a third party verified system.

In the past, if an owner of a natural products store had a lot of things that contained GMOs and a lot of things that didn’t, they may be quite hesitant to start ringing the bell that GMOs were unhealthy. But now stores are becoming populated more and more and in some cases, completely, with products that are non-GMO verified.

Now you have store owners and managers and staff who are happy to shout from the rafters, our products are non-GMO and here is why.”

For example, Whole Foods has now entered all of their store brand labels, the 365 brand and anything else that has the Whole Foods name, into the Non-GMO Project. They are also participating in non-GMO month. They’ve taken a strong leadership position to try and push the non-GMO message.

Must-See Movies to Share!

The IRT has created a film called Hidden Dangers in Kid’s Meals, which is a powerful way for parents to get an initiation into the health dangers. It’s only 28 minutes long, which is ideal for local access TV.

You can simply bring the film to your local access TV station, and sometimes they’ll play it 10, 20, or even 30 times because they’re always looking for material and are open to support from the community.

There’s also a video called Your Milk on Drugs – Just Say No!, which exposes the dangers of GM bovine growth hormones. Any parent still feeding their child milk from cows injected with rBGH needs to see this film! They’ll never make the same mistake again…

Another powerful video you can share with your friends and family is Jeffrey’s Everything You Have to Know About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods lecture.

Your Action Plan

I’ve already mentioned a number of different ways for you to get actively involved during Non-GMO Month. To recap, and add a few more suggestions, here is a list of Action Item for you to pick and choose from:

  1. Distribute WIDELY the Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs. Remember to look for products (including organic products) that feature the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal to be sure that at-risk ingredients have been tested for GMO content.
  2. Download the Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure and keep it with you whenever you shop, or download the free iPhone application that is available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications. You can also order the Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure in bulk and give it to your family and friends.
  3. Urge food manufacturers to join the Non-GMO Project and become Non-GMO Project Verified. This is currently the only way for manufacturers to get around the fact that there’s no GM-labeling system.
  4. Urge your local food retailers to join the Non-GMO Project’s Supporting Retailer Program.
  5. If your budget allows support this urgent mission by generously donating to the Institute of Responsible Technology.
  6. Bring the film Hidden Dangers in Kid’s Meals to your local access TV station, or perhaps your child’s school, along with some educational material specifically designed for teachers and educators.
  7. Share Your Milk on Drugs – Just Say No!, and Jeffrey’s lecture, Everything You Have to Know About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods with everyone you know. Post them to your Facebook page, or email the links to your network of friends and family.
  8. Join the Non-GMO Project on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

Together, We Control the Future of Our Food

Please join us in this important campaign. Do as much or as little as you can. Maybe you can’t make a donation to IRT, but you can distribute 20 Non-GMO shopping guides to your closest family and friends.

Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can reach the tipping point and push GMOs out of our food supply.

Together, we can protect the health of future generations and help accelerate the progress toward more sustainable agriculture in the United States.

Let’s do it!

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WikiLeaks Cables Reveal U.S. Sought to Retaliate Against Europe over Refusing to Allow Monsanto GM Crops

http://www.alternet.org

Then-U.S. ambassador to France Craig Stapleton was concerned about France’s decision to ban cultivation of GM corn produced by Monsanto and threatened recourse.
December 28, 2010 |
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JUAN GONZALEZ: U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal the Bush administration drew up ways to retaliate against Europe for refusing to use genetically modified seeds. In 2007, then-US ambassador to France Craig Stapleton was concerned about France’s decision to ban cultivation of genetically modified corn produced by biotech giant Monsanto. He also warned that a new French environmental review standard could spread anti-biotech policy across Europe.

In the leaked cable, Stapleton writes, “Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the [European] Commission…Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice.”

AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Stapleton goes on to write, “Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory,” he wrote.

Well, for more, we’re going to Iowa City to speak with Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, author of two books, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating and the book Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.

Jeffrey Smith, talk about the significance of these documents leaked by WikiLeaks.

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, we’ve been saying for years that the United States government is joined at the hip with Monsanto and pushing GMOs as part of Monsanto’s agenda on the rest of the world. This lays bare the mechanics of that effort. We have Craig Stapleton, the former ambassador to France, specifically asking the U.S. government to retaliate and cause some harm throughout the European Union. And then, two years later, in 2009, we have a cable from the ambassador to Spain from the United States asking for intervention there, asking the government to help formulate a biotech strategy and support the government—members of the government in Spain that want to promote GMOs, as well. And here, they specifically indicate that they sat with the director of Monsanto for the region and got briefed by him about the politics of the region and created strategies with him to promote the GMO agenda.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, they apparently were especially interested in one Monsanto product, MON 810. Could you talk about that?

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes. This is the first seed that was approved for widespread planting. You see, the biotech industry was concerned initially about the European Union accepting genetically modified foods. Although that had been approved for years by the commission, the food industry had rejected it because consumers were concerned. And so, there hasn’t been a lot of food going to the European Union that’s genetically modified.

However, they had planned to allow the growing of genetically modified seeds. Now that MON 810 has been allowed, individual countries have stepped forward to ban in. And so, in 2007, they were concerned about that, and so they were trying to create a strategy to force these countries to accept the first of the genetically modified seeds. Since then, there’s been more evidence showing that this genetically modified corn damages mice and rats, etc., can cause reductions of fertility, smaller litter sizes, smaller offspring, immune responses, etc. And these have gone largely ignored by both the European Food Safety Authority and the United States FDA.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about these health effects. Jeffrey Smith, you wrote a fascinating “Anniversary of a Whistleblowing Hero” piece about a British scientist and about the repercussions he suffered. He was one of the biggest GMO advocates. And explain what happened and what he actually learned.

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, Dr. Arpad Pusztai was actually working on a $3 million grant from the U.K. government to figure out how to test for the safety of GMOs. And what he discovered quite accidentally is that genetically modified organisms are inherently unsafe. Within 10 days, his supposedly harmless GMO potatoes caused massive damage to rats—smaller brains, livers and testicles, partial atrophy of the liver, damaged immune system, etc. And what he discovered was it was the process, the generic process of genetic engineering, that was likely the cause of the problem. He went public with his concerns and was a hero.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeffrey Smith, if you could explain this. This is very significant, because he was an expert on the protein that was—it’s this kind of insecticide. And everyone thought, oh, that might be the thing that would hurt people. But he said, actually, it wasn’t that.

JEFFREY SMITH: Exactly. You see, he was testing with rats that were eating the genetically modified potato, engineered to produce an insecticidal protein. But he also tested other groups of rats that were eating natural potatoes that were spiked with that same protein, and then a third group that was just eating natural potatoes without the insecticide. Only the group that ate the genetically engineered potato got these problems, not the group that was eating the potatoes along with the insecticide. So it clearly wasn’t the insecticide; it was somehow the process of genetic engineering.

Now, that process creates massive collateral damage inside the DNA of the plant. Hundreds and thousands of mutations can be formed. There could be hundreds or thousands of genes that are natural genes in the plant that change their levels of expression. For example, with MON 810 corn, they found that there was a gene that is normally silent that is switched on and now creates an allergen in corn. They found 43 different genes that were significantly up-regulated or down-regulated, meaning that there’s massive changes in these crops and they’re not being evaluated by the U.S.—by the FDA or any other regulatory authority around the world before being put onto the market.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, was there any indication from the cables or from your research that the pressure that Ambassador Stapleton and other U.S. officials were putting on the E.U. had the desired effect? Because former Ambassador Stapleton, was not just any former ambassador, he was the former co-owner of the Texas Rangers with former President George W. Bush.

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, we’ve seen a consistent effort by the U.S. to bully Europe. But, you see, the European mind on this is kind of divided. Some countries are clearly in the camp of precautionary principle and protecting interests for health. Others are basically moving in lockstep with the U.S. government and Monsanto. So it’s a fiercely pitched battle on every front in Europe.

A lot of the focus of the State Department has been on developing countries. They try and push GMOs into Africa. They deployed the Secretary of State’s chief advisory—scientific adviser, Nina Fedoroff, to Australia and to India. They tried to engage the Indian government with a contract or a treaty that would allow their scientists to be trained in the U.S. So they’ve been working around the world to try and influence policy on every single continent. And in some cases, they’re actually winning, where they’re overtaking the regulatory authorities and making it quite weak, like it is in the U.S. And in some cases in Europe now, there’s more resistance than ever, now that it’s “not in my backyard” politics, “no planting in my country” type of politics.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeffrey Smith, can you compare the Obama administration on biotechnology with the Bush administration?

JEFFREY SMITH: Unfortunately, we were hoping for a lot more success. President Obama, while he was campaigning here in Iowa, promised that he would require labeling of genetically modified crops. And since most Americans say they would avoid GMOs if labeled, that would have eliminated it from the food supply. But, you see, he and the FDA have been promoting the biotechnology. And unfortunately, the Obama administration has not been better than the Bush administration, possibly worse.

For example, the person who was in charge of FDA policy in 1992, Monsanto’s former attorney, Michael Taylor, he allowed GMOs on the market without any safety studies and without labeling, and the policy claimed that the agency was not aware of any information showing that GMOs were significantly different. Seven years later, because of a lawsuit, 44,000 secret internal FDA memos revealed that that policy was a lie. Not only were the scientists at the FDA aware that GMOs were different, they had warned repeatedly that they might create allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. But they were ignored, and their warnings were even denied, and the policy went forth allowing the deployment GMOs into the food supply with virtually no safety studies. That person in charge is now the U.S. food safety czar in the Obama administration.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And what is your general assessment of the sweeping reform that the Obama administration pushed through of the FDA, considered one of the biggest reforms of that agency in decades? Your assessment of it?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, if the FDA were absolutely dedicated to protecting public health, giving them more power makes sense. But investigation after investigation for years, it turns out that they often serve their “clients,” which is industry. Even one-third of their own surveyed members in September revealed that they believe that corporate and special interests really dictates policy in the area of public health. So, my opinion is, giving them more power without first eliminating that bias towards corporations is a dangerous formula. In fact, they are officially mandated with promoting the biotech industry, which is obviously a conflict of interest.

AMY GOODMAN: I know both Eric Schlosser and also Michael Pollan have hailed the food safety legislation, but on the issue of talking to the State Department and what they’re pushing abroad, I want to just say we did call the State Department and did not get a response. We wanted them to come on today’s broadcast.

Finally, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Jeffrey Smith, your assessment?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, he was our governor here in Iowa, and he was the biotech governor of the year in 2001. And unfortunately, he’s been following that course of action since he has been put in office. They released today the environmental impact statement for alfalfa, where they ignore their own data regarding the increase of pesticides because of GMOs. They ignore the data of their own scientists and other scientists, which show the use of Roundup, which will be promoted through this Roundup Ready alfalfa, is actually very toxic both for the environment and for human health. And so, he, as well as many others of the Obama administration, have been taken essentially from the biotech ranks and are now calling the shots there. And I’m very disappointed.

There was some indication in the EIS, however, for the alfalfa that he might take into consideration concerns about contamination, which we all know is permanent, where the self-propagating genetic pollution of genetically modified foods can outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. It’s being released now without—with very little concern. Finally, we see some ray of light, where they’re actually paying attention, but it’s not enough. It’s not based really on science.

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!.
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