by John Lawrence from the San Diego Free Press
While Other Countries Ban GMOs, US Congress Endorses Them
Scotland has banned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within its country. "Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment—and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status," said rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead. Here in the US the fight is just for the right to know that a food product should be labeled as GMO, and that's not going so well.
Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. This is BS, of course, since the bill's real purpose is to preempt the rights of state and local governments to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), to overturn GMO labeling laws already in place in several states, and to prevent the passage of any federal mandatory GMO labeling law in the future. So there is no free speech insofar as knowing what's in something we are eating is concerned. The law's attempt is to suppress truth in labeling.
GMOs were developed primarily to be resistant to Monsanto's Roundup so that Roundup could be sprayed directly on crops and only the weeds would die. So whether or not GMO corn and soybeans are good or bad for you, the presence of poison sprayed on them can't be too good for human consumers when they eat such crops. Especially crops such as grapes and apples which have very thin skins and are vulnerable to soaking up the herbicides and pesticides sprayed on them.
The GMO process starts with the seeds only available from Monsanto which grow into the Roundup resistant corn and soybeans which must be purchased on an annual basis from Monsanto. Farmers who save seeds from the current crop are subject to lawsuits by Monsanto which claims the GMO seeds as their intellectual private property.
Food activist Vandana Shiva has been delivering a message that she has honed for nearly three decades: by engineering, patenting, and transforming seeds into costly packets of intellectual property, multinational corporations such as Monsanto, with considerable assistance from the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the United States government, and even philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are attempting to impose “food totalitarianism” on the world. She describes the fight against agricultural biotechnology as a global war against a few giant seed companies on behalf of the billions of farmers who depend on what they themselves grow to survive. Shiva contends that nothing less than the future of humanity rides on the outcome.
Ever increasing amounts of Monsanto's poison are being sprayed on crops that American consumers are eating as super weeds have adapted to the stuff and are growing bigger than ever requiring more and more Roundup to kill them. The only rational solution is to go back to natural organic ways of dealing with weeds and pests as Monsanto's GMO crops are not sustainable. The only rationale for using Monsanto's GMO seeds and herbicides is that the farmers can get a larger crop yield per acre and thus make more money. But quality rather than quantity is what savvy American consumers are demanding more and more. So the market for organic food is growing. Organic food is non-GMO food that hasn't been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. With regard to animals they haven't been fed GMO corn or soy and haven't been given antibiotics or hormones.
San Diego Loves Roundup
San Diego is spraying Monsanto's Roundup (generic name - glyphosate) all over its freeways, public lands and waterways exposing San Diegans to this poison whenever they are driving or boating. In a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union, Susan Trump of North Part said this:
San Diego is liberally using Roundup, glyphosate, on public lands and waterways.
Entire countries such as France, Sri Lanka, Brazil and South Africa are banning the substance. We are past the age of ignorance. We understand the consequences and it is generally known that Roundup is not safe for humans, plants, insects or animals, yet its use continues to the extent that it is now in the food supply.
San Diego has just sued Monsanto for similar reasons. This must stop.
This month a French court confirmed Monsanto was guilty of chemical poisoning. Also in September 2015, Latvia and Greece Kicked Monsanto Out and Opted to Ban GM Crops!
San Diego Dr Robert J Rowen says:
What does your grocery shelf and San Diego’s bay water have in common? Monsanto and its poisons!
According to the French agency, glyphosate is used in more than 750 different herbicide products and its use has been detected in the air during spraying, in water and in food. Experts said there was "limited evidence" in humans that the herbicide can cause non-Hodgkins lymphoma and there is convincing evidence that glyphosate can also cause other forms of cancer in rats and mice. IARC's panel said glyphosate has been found in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, showing the chemical has been absorbed by the body.
Monsanto, which produces the glyphosate-containing herbicide, Roundup, strongly disagreed with the decision. "All labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health," said Phil Miller, a Monsanto spokesman, in a statement. (Did you know that this horrible stuff is routinely found in toxic screening on umbilical cord blood in our babies?)
And what did our own EPA say about this compound? “The EPA's 2012 assessment of glyphosate concluded that it met the statutory safety standards and that the chemical could "continue to be used without unreasonable risks to people or the environment."
About 180 million pounds per year are dumped on your food. It’s a systemic poison for plants, meaning the entire plant takes it up. More is deliberately dumped on “Roundup Ready” soy, etc. They are literally drenched and drowning in the toxic soup. Monsanto engineered crops to be resistant to a chemical it can more readily sell. It’s a win-win for the most evil company on the planet. Make and sell seeds of crops resistant to a poison it sells. And buy the government so that you will not be able to be informed if what you buy is GMO, and where possible get these bought off cronies to spoon-feed the public that your wares are safe. Now an ignorant public will be forced to buy and ingest your Frankenfoods and all the cancer causing poisons that have been sprayed on them. What a tremendous and diabolical scheme.
In a major victory for activists, it was announced last week that the California Environmental Protection Agency is planning to label Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide as a cancer-causing chemical.
Nathan Donley, staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco said that this is a major victory in the fight against dangerous pesticides.
“California’s taking an important step toward protecting people and wildlife from this toxic pesticide. It’s nearly impossible for people to limit exposure to this toxin because it is just so widespread. That’s why we need much tighter controls on its use,” Donley said.
“More than 250 million pounds of glyphosate are used each year in the United States, and the science is clear that it’s a threat to public health and countless wildlife species. It’s long past time to start reining in the out-of-control use of glyphosate in the United States,” he added.
Shop Organic for the Sake of Your Family's Health
So shopping organic and buying from local farmers makes more sense if you want to protect your family's health. GMO crops won't kill you immediately. Glyphosate won't kill you immediately. That's safe to say. But cancer rates are going skyward for all segments of the population as toxic chemicals permeate our diets and our lifestyles. There is no proven link between GMOs and cancer, but common sense dictates that unnatural chemicals as part of our diet aren't good for us regardless of the lower prices for such foods. It's better to pay a little more and protect your family's health. Like cigarettes, GMOs sprayed with glyphosate won't kill you immediately, but cancer will eventually get you. Monsanto's role is to deny the link between the two as long as they possibly can.
To be sure GMOs allow for more food production per acre if you want to call it food. It's actually Frankenfood. But the demographics of the growth of human population are indeed scary:
The global food supply is indeed in danger. Feeding the expanding population without further harming the Earth presents one of the greatest challenges of our time, perhaps of all time. By the end of the century, the world may well have to accommodate ten billion inhabitants—roughly the equivalent of adding two new Indias. Sustaining that many people will require farmers to grow more food in the next seventy-five years than has been produced in all of human history. For most of the past ten thousand years, feeding more people simply meant farming more land. That option no longer exists; nearly every arable patch of ground has been cultivated, and irrigation for agriculture already consumes seventy per cent of the Earth’s freshwater.
But we shouldn't panic and conclude that GMOs are the only way to go. There are natural methods to produce more food. One way is to reduce the production of beef and encourage a more vegetarian diet. Beef cows consume tremendous amounts of grains in order to produce one pound of meat. If humans consumed the grains directly, more could be fed and more water would be available for human consumption rather than the vast quantities required for animal production.
In addition beef cows are fed tremendous amounts of hormones and antibiotics in order to fatten them up and grow to maturity faster. Whatever animal protein humans consume should be organic for the same reasons that vegetables need to be non-GMO and organic if one's family's health means more than the slightly increased dietary costs. Money can be saved by not eating out which costs about five times as much as the same meal prepared at home, and what's more most restaurants are serving GMO and non-organic foods. Most restaurants are serving GMO foods and animals who have consumed them unless stated otherwise. Their whole trip is to make foods taste good without regard to whether or not those foods are good for you. So you pay through the nose and get a dose of poison to boot.
If you need more reasons to avoid GMO foods, here's a few:
1. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GMO) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.
2. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in "superweeds," resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.
3. Most of the health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments' superficial regulations and safety assessments. The reason for this tragedy is largely political. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn't require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency.
Their justification was the claim that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different. But this was a lie. Secret agency memos made public by a lawsuit show that the overwhelming consensus even among the FDA's own scientists was that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urged long-term safety studies. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and the agency official in charge of policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto's former attorney, later their vice president. He's now the US Food Safety Czar.
Will the US be the Last to Ban Monsanto's GMOs?
Many other countries are not falling for Monsanto's corporate nonsense and are labeling or outright banning GMOs. As I wrote previously:
Russia is considering legislation to criminalize GMO foods describing GMO food producers as terrorists. France, the largest agricultural producer in Europe, is preparing to restore a GMO maize ban in their country. Twenty-six countries, including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy and Mexico, have a total or partial ban on GMOs. Significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries.
Why does the US insist on doing the opposite by passing legislation that prevents states from banning or even labeling GMOs?
Even supposedly healthy restaurants like Subway are purveying meats from animals that have been factory farmed. This means they have been fed vast quantities of pesticide and herbicide sprayed corn and soy. They have been given huge amounts of antibiotics and hormones. Then they are made into sandwiches that people eat.
This is from an article by Reynard Loki, How Subway Sandwiches Are Fueling a Major Public Health Crisis:
Subway's slogan is, "Eat fresh." But while the company may have established itself as the "healthy" fast-food alternative, many people don't realize that as the world's largest fast food chain, it is also contributing to a serious public health crisis, animal cruelty and environmental damage due to the company's use of meat from factory farmed animals. These filthy and inhumane operations cause an incomprehensible amount of animal suffering, poison our air, land and water, and give rise to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that impact human health.
"Every year, more than two million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result," according to a 2013 report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "In addition to the illness and deaths caused by resistant bacteria, the report found that C. difficile, a serious diarrheal infection usually associated with antibiotic use, causes at least 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths every year."
“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda of WHO. “Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live healthier, and benefit from modern medicine. Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating.”
The antibiotics used to fatten animals are hastening the day when they won't be effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria and humans will die from minor infections as they used to before antibiotics were invented. And this is all so that factory farmers can make a few more dollars by bringing animals to market in less time.
Unless Americans wise up to where their food is coming from particularly restaurant foods, they are putting themselves at risk for diseases for which there aren't proven links to toxic substances in the food supply. These toxicities are put there so the corporate food giants and corporate farmers can make more money than they would have if they had supplied food products which hadn't been sprayed with toxic substances or had toxic foods fed to animals which are then butchered and fed to humans. As long as the link between these practices and actual human disease remains hazy, these corporations will continue to get away with it much as the cigarette manufacturers got away with selling a product that it took years to prove that it was cancer causing.