GMO crops

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Brachina
GMO crops

http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/03/18/a-founder-of-the-anti-gm-food-movemen...

I've been a long supporter of Genetically modified foods. I oppose the EU model of banning them as irrational.

The way I see it we've been genetically altering our food since we used selective breeding to domseticate animals and plants. Selective breeding is just away of ensuring the most choice genes survive and become dominate.

Genetic manipulation just seems a more effiencant way of doing that.

Does any Canadian Party advacate banning them, GMO?

Roystonbones

I hope someone has the sense to ban GMO's in Canada. The only ones they benefit are the large corporations such as Monsanto.

Yes, we have been hybridizing and modifying plant life for millenia, but infusing it with Roundup? Really?

There is no evidence of increased yield either.

Quote:

A study from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that genetically engineered crops do not produce larger harvests. Crop yield increases in recent years have almost entirely been due to improved farming or traditional plant breeding, despite more than 3,000 field trials of GM crops.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=can-genetically-modified-crops-feed-09-04-16

Quote:

sherpa-finn

About 10 years back the NDP adopted a policy proposing a ban on terminator seeds - one particular subset of GMO products. Not sure beyond that .... 

sherpa-finn

.... just did a quick double check to confirm that Alex Atamanenko, NDP MP for BC Southern Interior introduced a private member's bill to this effect last year.  

Bill C-434Terminator Seeds Ban Act:  An Act to prohibit the planting, cultivation, release, sale and importation of seeds incorporating or altered by variety-genetic use restriction technologies (V-GURTs), also called “Terminator technologies”

Text of the bill can be found here:http://parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=5677756

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

There's a lot of GMO threads here, type GMO or Monsanto into the search engine. The Greens strongly oppose GMOs. I've been contributing to those threads for years.

ETA: Monsanto is the Darth Vader of agriculture.

Brachina

I don't count banning terminator seeds as banning GMOs, it just bans its abuse.

MegB

Agent Orange, DDT, brought to you by Monsanto. Why wouldn't you trust them with your food?

BTW, the Harper regime has recently approved five new strains of GMO alfalfa. Apart from contaminating organic alfalfa crops, any animal that consumes the GMO product cannot be certified organic.

ETA: you can't get away with demonizing Darth Vader like that.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Rebecca West wrote:

 

ETA: you can't get away with demonizing Darth Vader like that.

Drat.

Okay, I'll leave it to you to find someone (or something) to compare Monsanto to. I really liked the Darth Vader comparsion. He wanted to dominate and dictate - as does Monsanto.

MegB

Five letters. S-A-T-A-N

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

That works! Laughing

MegB

Boom Boom wrote:

That works! Laughing

:)

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

There's lots of precedents around the world of governments standing up to Monsanto and other GMO profiteers. Here's a few: Kenya, Hungary, Peru....

Kenya BANS All GMO Foods

December 4, 2012

The Government has banned the importation of Genetically Modified foods popularly known as GMOs. The ban announced by Public Health minister Beth Mugo follows growing SAFETY concerns over the consumption of GMOs. The directive is expected to take effect immediately, a move that may see dealers of GMO products lose out.

Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields

February 10, 2012

Hungary has taken a bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto and genetic modification by destroying 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar. Unlike many European Union countries, Hungary is a nation where genetically modified (GM) seeds are banned. In a similar stance against GM ingredients, Peru has also passed a 10 year ban on GM foods.

 

mmphosis

NDP member Bill C-257 An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (mandatory labelling for genetically modified foods)

Not much about biotech in the Conservative Farming issues, but Senator Ogilvie, Kelvin K. seems to have lots of experience

A budget line item in the PDF of the Green Party's platform: "Stop federally funded GMO research"

Local Organic Farms Policy (Canadian Action Party)

and only this Just in ... Liberal convention item #67: Labeling of Food

 

Brachina

Why do all GMOs have to suffer for one bad company like Mosanto?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I think right now it's mostly because governments are so lax in areas of GMO regulation (which includes what is the acceptable level, if any, of  GM contamination of non-GM foods), safety testing, and food labeling.

Unfortunately, Monsanto - a huge American company -  is lobbying very aggressively to get governments all over the world to look the other way when it comes to these matters. Monsanto is the NRA of food development.

And, we just don't know the long-term effects of GMO products. Are they going to result in less biodiversity? Will they give rise to new forms of cancer?

There's probably a million questions that need to be asked, and researched, before GMOs are universally accepted as safe for humans and for the planet.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture
kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Like Cargill would be better?

I trust farmers not agribusiness.  Farmers feed us while agribusiness will kill us like it is killing farmers in India.

Aristotleded24

Brachina wrote:
Why do all GMOs have to suffer for one bad company like Mosanto?

Because of the inherent uncertainty of the new crops. You're correct that selective breeding has been going on for thousands of years. That is playing around with the genetic combinations that are naturally present. GMOs are different, in that they involve putting genes in plants that were not there before, for example, putting animal or bacterial genes in plants. A slight change in the genetic structure can have all sorts of consequences we cannot predict, and if something goes wrong, unlike a chemical spill, it's next to impossible to pull these organisms out of the biosphere. There was actually an [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pusztai_affair]experiment[/url] where rats were fed potatos with lectin. One set of potatos was sprinkled with it, the other set was genetically manipulated to produce it. The rats who ate the genetically modified potatos got sick, the other group didn't, so there is something inherent in changing the genetic makeup of organisms in that way that is potentially dangerous.

I wish Bookish Agrarian and Life, the universe, everything, were still here, they would be able to answer this question much better than me.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I recall about two decades ago there was publicity over the effects of GMO pollen on Monarch butterflies - they died.

mmphosis

I think that there are bigger questions about food.  And, food can be a charged topic.

I'd really like to know more about farming and the food that we eat.  I like this quote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:
selective breeding has been going on for thousands of years. That is playing around with the genetic combinations that are naturally present. GMOs are different, in that they involve putting genes in plants that were not there before

I think that you are right Brachina in that Genetically Modified Organisms are of beneficial value.  Monsanto is a technology company.  They have the resources and know how to genetically engineer new organisms.  They've used this technology to try and lock farmers and large agri-businesses into dangerous practices:  increased use of potentially dangerous chemicals (ie. to sell more of Monsanto's round-up ready), and mass production of monocrops used for purposes other than producing healthy food (like using mass amounts of corn syrup as a cheap additive to reap more profit.)

The slow food movement and others are returning to older and some newer and better practices.  The work of Vandana Shiva is inspiring.

I think that GMO technology may be used to reclaim bio-diversity and possibly create better and healthier food.

jerrym

The following website documents some of the cases of villification of scientists who have identified health issues with GM foods. It comes from a summary of evidence presented by Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director Institute for Responsible Technology, at the defamation trial of Gilles-Eric Séralini. Seralini, "President of the Scientific Council for Independent Research on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), is a leading researcher into the risks of GMOs. Not surprisingly, he and his team became the target a concerted campaign of vilification, which included Monsanto, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and scientific societies representing biotechnology in France: the French Association of Plant Biotechnology and the French High Counsel on Biotechnology"  (http://www.i-sis.org.uk/victoryForIndependentScience.php). Seralini won the libel case in France that he brought against his attackers. The ongoing attempt to discredit scientists and anyone else who warn against GM foods raise strong questions about an industry that purports to be so safe. If the evidence was so overwhelmingly on their side why wouldn't they simply let their evidence speak for itself? Are they worried that much of the evidence actually is contrary to their monetary interests?

Professor Seralini November, 2010

"The attack on Professor G. E. Seralini by biotech advocates is just the latest example of denial, distortion, and harassment that has been institutionalized in the promotion of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A quote from the September 2, 2009 Nature article accurately describes this tactic: A “large block of scientists who denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way that is not helpful in advancing knowledge and is outside the ideals of scientific inquiry." Nature says these “strikes . . . launched from within the scientific community” are sometimes “emotional and personal,” and can even “accuse scientists of misconduct. ...

Dr. P. M. Bhargava

In February 2008, the Indian Supreme Court asked renowned biologist P. M. Bhargava to evaluate the practices of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC). Dr. Bhargava attended meetings, studied submissions, and consulted more than 600 scientific journals for his analysis. After 10 months he concluded that not only was the Indian approval system inadequate, no GM crop in the world had ever been properly evaluated. In fact, of the 29 different categories of scientific research that he said should be conducted to protect the environment and public health, only 10% had been addressed. But these studies were industry-funded—designed so poorly that Dr. Bhargava deemed them worthless. He asked the Prime Minister and Health Minister to institute an immediate moratorium on GMOs until adequate tests could be completed.

While attending the GEAC, whenever Dr. Bhargava presented adverse findings about GMOs, the material was summarily dismissed with the statement “That’s been discredited.” It didn’t matter what prominent journal or highly credentialed scientist had published the work, the response was automatic. When Dr. Bhargava submitted his own report on the GEAC, they tried to discredit him in the same way. ...

Dr. Arpad Pusztai

Arpad Pusztai was the world’s top researcher in his field of lectin proteins and a senior researcher at the prestigious Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland. He had been working on a UK government grant to design long-term testing protocols that were intended to become part of the official European GM food safety assessment process. But when Dr. Pusztai fed supposedly harmless GM potatoes to rats, they developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partially atrophied livers, and a damaged immune system. Moreover, the results clearly implicated the cause of the problem as the unpredictable side effects arising from the process of genetic engineering itself.

With permission from his director, Dr. Pusztai accepted an invitation to be interviewed on television and expressed his concerns about GM food. For two days he was a hero at his institute. Then two phone calls from the prime minister’s office were allegedly forwarded through the institute’s receptionist to the director. The next morning Dr. Pusztai was told his contract would not be renewed, ending his 35 year career at the Institute. ... Eventually, Dr. Pusztai was invited to speak before Parliament, his gag order lifted, and his research published in the prestigious Lancet. An in-depth investigation of this incident—including access to leaked documents—shows how pro-biotech scientists and politicians had colluded in their unjustified attack on Dr. Pusztai and his findings.

Dr. Judy Carman

Writing on behalf of the Public Health Association of Australia, epidemiologist Judy Carman condemned the GMO approval process as superficial and inadequate. 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.

When Carman was awarded a grant by the Western Australia government to conduct some of the few long-term animal feeding studies on GMOs, biotech advocates wrote letters to the government demanding that the grant be withdrawn. When the government refused, opponents successfully interfered with Carman’s relationship with the university where she was to do the research.

Dr. Terje Traavik

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

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

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

• 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 using the pretense that he presented unpublished work. But presentation of preliminary data at professional conferences is a long tradition in science, something that the biotech industry itself relies on. Ironically, three years later, biotech proponents sharply criticized a peer-reviewed publication for not citing unpublished data that had been presented at a conference.

Turkish Scientist (anonymous)

In 2005, a scientist 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.

Dr. Andrés Carrasco

Embryologist Andrés Carrasco is the director of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, University of Buenos Aires Medical School and lead researcher of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research. In 2010, he discovered that Roundup, the herbicide sold in conjunction with most GM crops, could cause defects in the brain, intestines, and hearts of amphibian fetuses. His results supported the reports of peasants who suffered birth defects after being sprayed by Roundup.

The industry responded by ridiculing the research and even threatening him personally. Four men arrived unannounced at his laboratory and were extremely aggressive, attempting to interrogate Carrasco and search his premises. Later, a violent gang prevented Dr. Carrasco from giving a speech on his findings, beat up his colleagues, and attacked Dr. Carrasco’s car for two hours.

Companies Also Prevent Studies by Denying Access to Seeds

In addition to using threats and other attack strategies, the biotech industry has limited independent research by denying scientists access to their patented seeds. For example:

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. ...

Professor Seralini is not alone. He represents scientists around the world who have also faced scathing reactions of biotech promoters. Please defend his rights, and the rights of us all to know the truth about GMOs.

Most sincerely,

Jeffrey M. Smith Executive Director Institute for Responsible Technology 

http://www.gmfreecymru.org/documents/new_statement.html

jerrym

Below is the executive summary of a detailed 2012 report, GMO Myths and Truths, that provides evidence for that the GMO Myths promoted by the industry are problematic at best and often untrue. Scienfitic and other evidence is also provided concerming the many problems associated with GMO foods. 

 

"Genetically modified (GM) crops are promoted on the basis of a range of far-reaching claims from the GM crop industry and its supporters. They say that GM crops:

  • Are an extension of natural breeding and do not pose different risks from naturally bred crops
  • Are safe to eat and can be more nutritious than naturally bred crops
  • Are strictly regulated for safety
  • Increase crop yields
  • Reduce pesticide use
  • Benefit farmers and make their lives easier
  • Bring economic benefits
  • Benefit the environment
  • Can help solve problems caused by climate change
  • Reduce energy use
  • Will help feed the world.

However, a large and growing body of scientific and other authoritative evidence shows that these claims are not true. On the contrary, evidence presented in this report indicates that GM crops:

  • Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GM crops
  • Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
  • Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety
  • Do not increase yield potential
  • Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it
  • Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant “superweeds”, compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops
  • Have mixed economic effects
  • Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity
  • Do not offer effective solutions to climate change
  • Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops
  • Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on.

Based on the evidence presented in this report, there is no need to take risks with GM crops when effective, readily available, and sustainable solutions to the problems that GM technology is claimed to address already exist. Conventional plant breeding, in some cases helped by safe modern technologies like gene mapping and marker assisted selection, continues to outperform GM in producing high-yield, drought-tolerant, and pest- and disease-resistant crops that can meet our present and future food needs."

http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/58

 

jerrym

The full GMO Myths and Truths report detailing the evidence for the executive summary presented in #21 can be found at: 

http://www.earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/GMO_Myths_and_Truths/GMO_Myths...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..found this just a while ago. it's kind of an inside look at a movement who believe's that they can get a law passed this year to label gmo. the talks begin after cetain amount of ceremony so you can skip ahead if that's your pleasure.

Vandana Shiva in Hawaii - January 15, 2013

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhf6Y6YW_CA


TheArchitect

I thought it'd be helpful to share Jack Layton's perspective on this issue.  The following is excerpted from Jack's book Speaking Out: Ideas that Work for Canadians, pages 110 to 112.

Jack Layton wrote:

Have you ever met kids who didn't play with their food?  Me neither.  That's why all parents have to tell their children not to do it.  Now, however, we aren't just saying that to our kids, we're telling it to big corporations: "Don't play with our food."

I don't really know the consequences of eating a tomato that's been modified with fish genes.  I do know that the soybeans that go into my tofu are almost certain to have been genetically modified, but I don't know how that's likely to affect me.  Or you.  And that's precisely the problem.  We just don't know—and neither does anyone else.  Genetic modification is like playing global Russian roulette: fish genes in the tomato may be an empty chamber.  Maybe they're not.  I'd rather not find out the hard way.

We do know some things about genetic modification.  Corporations want it so they can control a farmer's use of seeds.  A corporation cannot patent a native seed, but it can patent a genetically modified seed—and corporations can (and have) sued farmers for planting seeds of GM crops they've saved from a previous season.  Corporations can also deliberately use what they call "terminator technology" so the plant produces sterile seeds, thus making sure that new crops can't be grown from them.  Corporations can also modify crops by building in compatibility with their own particular brand of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, compelling the farmer to buy them and no other.  No wonder "designer genes" is the term du jour.  And the long-distance shipping, already mentioned, is another motivational factor behind the genetic modification of food: corporations like Monsanto are looking for ways to get food to ripen after it's been harvested, so it won't spoil during shipment.

At the 1992 Rio Summit on the Environment, most of the world's nations agreed to adopt what's become known as the Precautionary Principle about the environment.  It applies on many fronts, but perhaps none more important that the modification of food.  Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration says, "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities.  Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be use as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."

"Lack of full scientific certainty" undoubtedly applies in the case of GM foods—and we should never go down that road until we learn where it leads us.

Labelling of all GM foods should be mandatory.  Consumers must have the right to know what they're buying and eating.  The corporate line—"It's too complicated to label products"—is pathetically self-serving.  (Labelling food must be far easier than splicing genes.)  Once more, Europe has led the way on the labeling and restricting of GM foods.  However, the most dramatic illustration of resistance to GM crops can be found in Africa.  There, in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Zambia, countries with many desperately hungry people, officials have refused shipments of genetically-modified U.S. corn.

At the same time, and behind the closed doors of the World Bank and World Trade Organization, corporate moguls are working out the rights of investors to do whatever they want.  The intent of these two powerful organizations is to fashion trade agreements that suit corporations and maximize profits, even at the expense of human health, the viability of the ecosystem, and every human being's right to decent food.

It's clear to me that the citizens of the world are increasingly saying no to GM crops and trade agreements assigned to maximize profits at the expense of human health and ecosystem viability.  The federal government must ban GM wheat.  Farmers, environmentalists, and communities all agree on this one.  How can Canada be the breadbasket of the world if our bread is dangerous?  As well, the federal government should put a moratorium on all new genetically modified crops, and it should change current regulations so that biotech corporations must prove new technology is environmentally safe before it is used.  Not only would those measures protect Canadian markets overseas, but they would mean Canada could once again be a leader in environmental protection.

If ever we should err on the side of caution, it's with what we eat.  Don't play with our food.

A clear-headed analysis of the issue, rooted in Jack Layton's profound yearning to build a world where each and every one of us can live in freedom and dignity, in his illusion-free understanding of the ways in which corporate control of our politics is holding us back from achieving that world, and in his unwavering commitment to overcome that control and build a new and different politics—a politics for people, not just for corporations.  Just what we would expect from a great man who we loved, who we miss, and whose work we will continue until the job is done.

jerrym

Monsanto, the largest GM food corporation, has learned from its past mistakes. In 1997-98, Monsanto faced a PR disaster because of its own actions. This post outlines the past mistakes. The next will show how it learned from them. 

"Trumpeting its new slogan, "Food-Health-Hope," Monsanto paraded its new garb as a "life sciences" company. Old catch phrases like "Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible" were dropped. ...

But evidence of the same old corporate nastiness behind Monsanto's smiley mask was easy to find. The "Terminator" technology, by which seeds are genetically engineered to be sterile in the second generation, became a public relations black eye. So did the company's persecution of farmers who dared to save seeds from Monsanto's crop varieties for planting the following season. 

Most shocking were the company's heavy-handed attempts to silence critics. As part of Monsanto's five-million-dollar advertising campaign promoting genetically engineered food in Britain and France the company avowed "we believe that food is so fundamentally important, everyone should know all they want to about it." In an ostentatious show of fairness, the ads went so far as to publish the phone numbers of groups opposed to biotechnology. But several incidents cast doubt on the company's true willingness to engage in debate.

The story of the firing of Jane Akre and Steve Wilson from a Florida television station after their brave efforts to expose the hazards of Monsanto's recombinant bovine growth hormone is told elsewhere in this issue. Another case was that of the book Against the Grain: Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food by Marc Lappé and Britt Bailey. According to the authors, the book contract was canceled after the publisher received a threatening letter from Monsanto in March 1998, and the copies, which had already been printed, were destroyed. Fortunately, Against the Grain, which is packed with useful information, is now available from a new publisher, Common Courage Press.

Similarly, the entire press run of the September/October 1998 issue of the British magazine, The Ecologist, which was entirely devoted to Monsanto's misdeeds, was pulped by its printer, Penwells. Though Monsanto denied any responsibility for this act of vandalism, and Penwells would not go on the record about its motives, The Guardian newspaper said that the printer was afraid of a libel suit if the issue was published. (4) After a new printer was found, mysterious problems cropped up in getting the magazine distributed in the UK. 

These incidents of suppression of essential knowledge about biotechnology must he seen in the context of Monsanto's long fight against labeling of genetically engineered foods. Even voluntary labeling of rBGH-free milk has run a gauntlet of opposition from Monsanto's lawyers and political operatives. How seriously, then, can we take the protestations that this is not your father's Monsanto?

Had the USDA's December 1997 organic food regulations taken effect in their original form, genetically engineered food could even have been labeled organic. John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton predicted the attempted use of the organic label to greenwash unsustainable farming practices in their 1995 book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You."

http://www.greens.org/s-r/18/18-11.html

jerrym

Learning from its 1997-1998 mistakes, Monsanto changed its approach in the following years. In post #20, there are examples of how Monsanto proceeded to attempt both the science and the scientists who provided evidence that raised serious questions about the safety of GM foods. 

It also attempted to be less overt after 1997-98 in its attacks by using a marketing corporations, Bivings Group, that explains on its own website how to use 'Vrial Marketing' to discredit someone: "There are some campaigns where it would be undesirable or even disastrous to let the audience know that your organisation is directly involved... it simply is not an intelligent PR move. In cases such as this, it is important to first 'listen' to what is being said online... Once you are plugged into this world, it is possible to make postings to these outlets that present your position as an uninvolved third party... Perhaps the greatest advantage of viral marketing is that your message is placed into a context where it is more likely to be considered seriously."

A senior executive from Monsanto is quoted on the Bivings site thanking the PR firm for its "outstanding work". This was for its Viral Marketing attack on a paper by 2 scientists, Chapela and Quist, that "which claimed that native maize in Mexico had been contaminated, across vast distances, by GM pollen. The paper was a disaster for the biotech companies seeking to persuade Mexico, Brazil and the European Union to lift their embargos on GM crops."

On the very day that the paper was published, messages began appearing on a biotechnology listserver used by more than 3,000 scientists, from "Mary Murphy" and "Andura Smetacek". Murphy claimed that Chapela was "on the board of directors of the Pesticide Action Network, and therefore, she claimed, "not exactly what you'd call an unbiased writer". "Smetacek" falsely claimed that Chapela's paper had not been peer-reviewed, that he was "first and foremost an activist" and that the research had been published in collusion with environmentalists. The next day, another email from "Smetacek" asked 'how much money does Chapela take in speaking fees, travel reimbursements and other donations... for his help in misleading fear-based marketing campaigns?' "

Both "Murphy" and "Smetacek" claimed to be ordinary citizens and denied any connection to Bivings Group. However, their e-mail addresses traced them to Bivings Group, the PR firm that Monsanto hired. " 'Sometimes,' Bivings boasts, 'we win awards. Sometimes only the client knows the precise role we played.' Sometimes, in other words, real people have no idea that they are being managed by fake ones. "

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2002/may/14/greenpolitics.digitalmedia

 

jerrym

Two articles by Dr. Don Lotter outline in Part I some of the problems associated with GMO foods and in Part II the reasons the scientific community and government has failed to oversee and regulate the GMO industry. 

Lottter lists the factors that have contributed to this failure in Part II:

(1) the conversion of universities science departments from a non-proprietary model aimed at serving the public good to an academic capitalism model aimed at earning money for the scientific entrepreneurs and the universities based on private funding of research and proprietary technologies;

(2) dominance and often monopolization of scientific bodies involved in transgenics by scientists who support the transgenic industry; 

(3) trangenic industry sponsored research that lacks sufficient scientific protocols, is biased in favoured of the industry and sometimes is fraudulent;

(4) transgenic industry regulators who are compromised by moving back and forth between the industry and regulating agency;

(5) bias against scientists who question the industry that works against their peer-reviewed articles being published, that results in their harassment and that reduces their chances of being hired by universities.

http://www.ijsaf.org/archive/16/1/lotter1.pdf

http://www.ijsaf.org/archive/16/1/lotter2.pdf

jerrym

At the following website, there are three videos where Terry Boehm (Vice President of the Canadian National Farmers Union) and Arnold Taylor (National President of Canadia) discuss the crisis created in Canada by GM seeds. 

http://www.myessentia.com/blog/canadian-genetically-modified-crops-are-o...

For those without a video connection here is a summary of the videos.

Boehm points out that within 4 to 5 years of the introduction of GM canola, the GM variety had spread by wind and other means to such an extent that there was and remains no ability to sell non-GM canola because the GM and non-GM are so intermingled and even hybridized that Canada cannot assure buyers which is which. Because the European Union and Japan require labeling of all GM food, Canada has lost the ability to sell GM canola in Europe.There is now also no possibility of having an organic canola and the process cannot be reversed.

Worse than that is that seed patents are now giving GM corporations, such as Monsanto, control of the world market in seeds, as they crowd other non-organic seeds out of the market. This has led to very high seed prices which are coupled with technology fees and the need to use very expensive synthetic fertilizers, thereby contributing to a drop in farmer earnings. The GM contracts also require farmers to repurchase the GM seeds every year, rather than use the seeds from the previous crop, something farmers have done throughout history. The GM corporations are now developing sterile GM seeds so that the farmers who initially purchase become totally dependent on the GM corporations.

Michelle

Holy Christ.  This is the first I've seen this thread.  You have to be kidding me.  Support for GMO crops, and by extension, ginormous agro-firms like Monsanto?

Percy Schmeiser, anyone?  Terminator seeds?  That's what comes of supporting this kind of shit.  Good lord.

Sorry - I'm grateful to those of you who have more patience than I do to actually explain why GMO is not a good thing, and why it's actually completely different than selective breeding.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

U.S. President Obama has just signed the Monsanto Protection Act.

Hope anyone?

jerrym

Michelle wrote:

Percy Schmeiser, anyone?    

Schmeiser is the Saskatchewan farmer who became a symbol for farmers' rights when sued by Monsanto for not paying a license fee for using Monsanto's gene patented Roundup Ready Canola. The case went to Canada's Supreme Court as Schmeiser claimed the seeds had blown on his fields from neighbours who used Monsanto's seeds and some had hybridized with his own seeds that he had developed. Schmeiser lost the case in a 5-4 decision, ruling that Schmeiser intentionally planted the seeds. 

Schmeiser was later shown to be correct in that the the Roundup Ready Canola spread within five years across western Canada to such an extent that Canada could not guarantee that it had GM-free canola anywhere and therefore lost its ability to sell any canola in Europe and Japan where GM foods must be labelled by law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Schmeiser

However, in a less well known battle with Monsanto, Schmeiser, in 2008, reached an out-of-court settlement with Monsanto, in which it "agreed to pay all the clean-up costs of the Roundup Ready canola that contaminated Schmeiser's fields. Also part of the agreement was that there was no gag-order on the settlement and that Monsanto could be sued again if further contamination occurred. Schmeiser believes this precedent setting agreement ensures that farmers will be entitled to reimbursement when their fields become contaminated with unwanted Roundup Ready canola or any other unwanted GMO plants."

http://www.percyschmeiser.com/

 

jerrym

The website below has a connection to the documentary "The World according to Monsanto". The following quote is part of the introduction to the documentary.

"If they control seed, they control food, they know it – it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. The story starts in the White House, where Monsanto often got its way by exerting disproportionate influence over policymakers via the “revolving door”. One example is Michael Taylor, who worked for Monsanto as an attorney before being appointed as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. While at the FDA, the authority that deals with all US food approvals, Taylor made crucial decisions that led to the approval of GE foods and crops. Then he returned to Monsanto, becoming the company’s vice president for public policy."

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-world-according-to-monsanto/

jerrym

Below is a review of the documentary "The World according to Monsanto", wich was directed by Marie-Monique Robin. The review is by Jeffrey M. Smith, the international bestselling author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, and director of The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America.

http://www.bangmfood.org/films/22-films/4-film-review-the-world-accordin...

"How much outrage can a single multinational corporation inspire? How much damage can they inflict? The breathtaking new film, The World According to Monsanto, features a company that sets the new standard. From Iowa to Paraguay, from England to India, Monsanto is uprooting our food supply and replacing it with their patented genetically engineered creations. And along the way, farmers, communities, and nature become collateral damage.

The Gazette says the movie “will freeze the blood in your veins.” The Hour says it’s a “horrifying enough picture” to warrant “fury.” But most importantly, this critical film opens our eyes just in time.

The film is the work of celebrated award-winning French filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, whose three years of work on four continents exposes why Monsanto has become the world’s poster child for malignant corporate influence in government and technology. Combining secret documents with accounts by victims, scientists and policy makers, she guides us through a web of misleading reports, pressure tactics, collusion, and attempted corruption. And we learn how the company systematically tricked governments into allowing dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods into our diet—with Monsanto in charge of determining if they’re safe.

Deception, Deception, Deception

The company’s history with some of the most toxic chemicals ever produced, illustrates why they can’t be trusted. Ask the folks of Anniston, Alabama, where Monsanto’s PCB factory secretly poisoned the neighborhood for decades. PCBs are Monsanto’s toxic oils used as coolants and lubricants for over 50 years and are now virtually omnipresent in the blood and tissues of humans and wildlife around the globe. But Anniston residents have levels hundreds or thousands of times the average. They all know their levels, which they carry as death sentences. David Baker, who lost his little brother and most of his friends to PCB-related diseases such as cancer, says Anniston kids used to run up to him, report their PCB level and ask, “How long you think I got?”

Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group says that based on Monsanto documents made public during a trial, the company “knew the truth from the very beginning. They lied about it. They hid the truth from their neighbors.” One Monsanto memo explains their justification: “We can’t afford to lose one dollar of business.”

Monsanto also produced the infamous Agent Orange, the cancer and birth-defect causing defoliant sprayed over Vietnam. It contaminated more than 3 million civilians and servicemen. But according to William Sanjour, who led the Toxic Waste Division of the Environmental Protection Agency, “thousands of veterans were disallowed benefits” because “Monsanto studies showed that dioxin [the main ingredient in Agent Orange] was not a human carcinogen.” But his EPA colleague discovered that Monsanto had allegedly falsified the data in their studies. Sanjour says, “If they were done correctly, [the studies] would have reached just the opposite result.”

Secret documents stolen from the FDA also reveal serious health effects from Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, called rBGH or rBST. In particular, the amount of a powerful hormone called IGF-1 is substantially increased in milk from treated cows. Samuel Epstein, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, says that approximately 60 studies link IGF-1 to “breast, colon, and prostate cancers.”

Cancer is also implicated in Monsanto’s showcase herbicide, Roundup. According Professor Robert Bellé’s research showing disrupted cell division, “Roundup provokes the first stages that lead to cancer.” Bellé, who is with the National Center for Scientific Research and the Pierre and Marie Curie Institute in France, says, “The tested doses were well below those which people normally use.”

Monsanto has promoted Roundup as harmless to both humans and the environment. But their advertised environmental claims, such as “biodegradable,” “leaves the soil clean,” and “respects the environment,” were declared false and illegal by judges in both the US and France. In fact, Monsanto’s own studies showed that 28 days after application, only 2% of the product had broken down. They were forced to remove “biodegradable” from the label.

Above the law

When Monsanto’s transgressions are reported to authorities, somehow the company is magically let off the hook.

When Monsanto finally did share information on PCBs with the government, for example, Ken Cook says “instead of siding with the people who were being poisoned, [the government] sided with the company. . . . It was outrageous!” When William Sanjour’s EPA colleague, Cate Jenkins, asked the agency to review Monsanto’s flawed Agent Orange studies, Sanjour says, “there was no investigation of Monsanto. . . . What they investigated was Cate Jenkins, the whistleblower! They made her life a hell.”

When Richard Burroughs of the FDA held up approval of rBGH by demanding more rigorous and relevant testing, he was fired. He says, “They figured: ‘Well, if you’re in the way, we’ll get you out of the way.’. . . One day, I was escorted to the door and told that was it; I was done.” Senior government scientists at Health Canada testified that their superiors were pressuring them to approve rBGH and that Monsanto had offered them an alleged bribe of $1-2 million. The scientists were later reprimanded, punished, and eventually “dismissed for disobedience.” rBGH was never approved in Canada, Europe, and most industrialized nations.

When Professor Bellé went to his administration “to let the public know about the dangers” of Roundup herbicide, he was “ordered” not to communicate his findings “due to the GMO question lurking in the background.” That question about genetically modified organisms was in relation to Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” crops. Monsanto has the patent for 90% of the GMOs grown on the planet, and most of them are genetically modified specifically to tolerate applications of Roundup.

Corporate Coup d’état

Monsanto’s past manipulations were mere warm ups compared to the virtual government takeover used to approve GM foods. Author Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation for Economic Trends, says, “I have never seen a situation where one company could have so much overwhelming influence at the highest levels of regulatory decision making.”

The problem Monsanto faced was that GMOs are inherently unsafe. They can create dangerous side effects. That was the overwhelming consensus by FDA scientists, according to 44,000 agency documents made public from a lawsuit. But the most important document, FDA’s official policy, claimed that GMOs were not substantially different. They were granted the status “Generally Recognized as Safe,” even though they failed to meet the normal criteria. Thus, no safety testing is necessary. If Monsanto declares their GM products safe, the FDA has no further questions.

Former FDA biotech coordinator James Maryanski admits on camera that the GMO policy “was a political decision,” not scientific. In fact, FDA political appointee Michael Taylor was in charge of the policy. Taylor was formerly Monsanto’s attorney and later their vice president.

Monsanto’s people regularly infiltrate upper echelons of government, and the company offers prominent positions to officials when they leave public service. This revolving door has included key people in the White House, regulatory agencies, even the Supreme Court. Monsanto also had George Bush Senior on their side, as evidenced by footage of Vice President Bush at Monsanto’s facility offering help to get their products through government bureaucracy. He says, “Call me. We’re in the ‘de-reg’ business. Maybe we can help.”

Monsanto’s influence continued into the Clinton administration. Dan Glickman, then Secretary of Agriculture, says, “there was a general feeling in agro-business and inside our government in the US that if you weren’t marching lock-step forward in favor of rapid approvals of biotech products, rapid approvals of GMO crops, then somehow, you were anti-science and anti-progress.” He admits, “when I opened my mouth in the Clinton Administration [about the lax regulations on GMOs], I got slapped around a little bit.”

Unlike Glickman, FDA’s Maryanski tries in vain to convince filmmaker Robin that GMOs are safe and that US regulation is adequate. But Robin had conducted four months of intensive internet research examining declassified documents, leaked internal files, scientific studies, trial transcripts, articles, and first hand accounts of whistleblowers. She was prepared.

In a priceless sequence, the film alternates between Maryanski’s assurances and public interest attorney Steven Druker reading formerly secret memos by agency scientists, describing the serious health damage that GMOs may cause. When Robin repeats these same quotes to Maryanski, he resorts to uncomfortable stuttering, stammering, and backtracking. When he ultimately tries to dismiss genetic engineering as completely safe, Robin nails him. She reads to Maryanski his own words from a 1991 memo in which he acknowledged that genetic engineering of a food supplement called L-tryptophan in the 1980s may have been responsible for a deadly epidemic that killed dozens and caused thousands to fall sick or become disabled.

Suppressing evidence of harm, attacking GMO scientists

When Monsanto’s GM crops hit American farm fields in 1996, virtually no safety studies had been published. The pro-GM UK government decided to commission Dr. Arpad Pusztai, the world’s leading scientist in his field, to design rigorous safety testing protocols that would convince a skeptical public to embrace GM foods. When Pusztai fed GM potatoes to rats, however, they developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, a damaged immune system, and inhibited growth of major organs. Moreover, Pusztai’s work implicated the generic process of genetic engineering itself as the cause. That is, any GM food already on the market might create the same problems in humans.

When Pusztai went public with his concerns, he was praised for his “wonderful work” by his director at the prestigious Rowett Institute. But according to a colleague, “two phone calls from Downing Street [the home of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair] to the director” resulted in Pusztai’s sudden dismissal after 35 years. His protocols were shelved and he was the target of a relentless smear campaign, designed to destroy his reputation while promoting that of GMOs.

UC Berkeley Professor Ignacio Chapela was also targeted after he published evidence that GM corn had cross-pollinated with indigenous Mexican varieties, forever contaminating “the world’s genetic reservoir of corn.” Just after his research was published in Nature, Mary Murphy and Andura Smetacek began posting false accusations on a biotech forum website, recruiting scientists to inundate the publication with demands to retract the study. When anti-GMO campaigner Jonathan Matthews analyzed the technical headers on the two’s emails, he traced Smetacek to a Monsanto computer, and Murphy to their PR firm. The two were apparently fictitious characters created to stir things up. Matthews says, “There’s no ethics at all in what’s going on here. It shows an organization that is determined to push its products into countries around the world and it’s determined to destroy the reputation of anybody who stands in their way.”

Monster corn and contamination by design

The film explores an ominous new development in Mexico that has yet to be reported in the scientific literature. Mutated and bizarrely shaped corn plants have been found “along the roadside or in people’s yards” or fields. Community organizer Aldo Gonzales says, “They are really monsters!” And whenever analyzed, the monsters turn out to be genetically engineered. Local scientists believe that when GM corn cross-pollinates with traditional varieties, some genetic effect disturbs the offspring.

One Mexican farmer realized the implications. “If we don’t manage to stop their spread in our fields, soon we’ll be forced to buy our corn seed because our own won’t work anymore?” Gonzales wonders if the contamination was intentional. He says, “Contamination only benefits multinationals like Monsanto.”

Intentional contamination of another sort appears to have happened in Paraguay, as illegal Roundup Ready seeds were smuggled in before GMOs were approved. Roberto Franco, Paraguay’s Deputy Agriculture Ministry, tactfully admits, “It is possible that [Monsanto], let’s say, promoted its varieties and its seeds” before they were approved. “We had to authorize GMO seeds because they had already entered our country in an, let’s say, unorthodox way.”

Once approved, large agribusinesses bought huge tracts and cut down the rainforest to plant vast Roundup Ready soybean fields. The GMOs allow them to spray by plane or mechanical spreader; to farm without farmers. Peasants who had worked the land for generations are forced out—100,000 each year leave rural areas to live in the shanty towns of the cities. In one small farm community that is holding out next to a soy field, sprayed Roundup kills their livestock and crops, and sickens their children.

Destroying farmers

US family farmers also feel the heat. Troy Roush is one of hundreds accused by Monsanto of illegally saving their seeds. The company requires farmers to sign a contract that they will not save and replant GM seeds from their harvest. That way Monsanto can sell its seeds—at a premium—each season.

Although Roush maintains his innocence, he was forced to settle with Monsanto after two and a half years of court battles. He says his “family was just destroyed [from] the stress involved.” Many farmers are afraid, according to Roush, because Monsanto has “created a little industry that serves no other purpose than to wreck farmers’ lives.”

Massive farmer suicides

In many countries where Monsanto monopolizes the seeds of certain crops, they eliminate non-GMO choices to force farmers to buy GM varieties. In India, for example, where Monsanto pushes their pesticide-producing Bt cotton, “there was no non-BT hybrid seed available in the market,” says agronomist Kiran Sakhari.

Farmers had to borrow heavily to pay four times the price for the GM varieties, along with the chemicals needed to grow them. In spite of glowing promises of higher yields by Monsanto’s ads, Bt cotton often performs poorly. Tragically, tens of thousands of indebted desperate farmers have resorted to suicide, often drinking unused pesticides. In one region, more than three Bt cotton farmers take their own lives each day.

Replacing Nature: “Nothing Shall Be Eaten That We Don’t Own”

Monsanto is the world’s largest seed company and many are concerned. Troy Roush says, “They are in the process of owning food, all food.” Paraguayan farmer Jorge Galeano says, “Its objective is to control all of the world’s food production.” Renowned Indian physicist and community organizer Vandana Shiva says, “If they control seed, they control food; they know it, it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs; it’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world.”

The World According to Monsanto is aptly named. It is about Monsanto seeking to recreate the world in its own image, for its own benefit. They intend to replace (and patent) the entire food supply. And since their genetic pollution self-propagates in the environment, it will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste.

Such widespread permanent influence may not be safe with any individual or company. With Monsanto’s record, the results can only be catastrophic.

This powerful documentary might just inspire a global rejection of Monsanto’s plans for our world. If so, it will be the most important film in history."

 

jerrym

radiorahim wrote:

U.S. President Obama has just signed the Monsanto Protection Act.

Hope anyone?

Percy Schmeiser's out-of-court settlement with Monsanto (described in the previous post) gives some hope in Canada that ordinary farmers and citizens can successfully stand-up to these giant GM corporations, at least until the Cons implement legislation similar to the Monsanto Protection Act.

The so-called Monsanto Protection Act "would protect U.S. biotech companies (not just Monsanto) from litigation if their GMO seeds turn out to be dangerous. The tale of how this happened is a story of backroom dealings at their worst, but it is also leading to a potential end to the legislation as the following article describes the backroom dealings and the backlash. 

However, anger over the addition of this provision to the appropriations bill "is growing like an herbicide-resistant weed, fueled by news the rider was anonymously added to a U.S. budget bill in an apparent favor to biotech firms. The measure has made unlikely allies of Tea Party and environmental groups, inspired more than 250,000 people to sign a petition opposing it, and even prompted the head of the Senate Appropriations Committee to retroactively disavow it. ...

Its origins remain hazy, but Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. (whose largest donor was Monsanto), has since told Politico he "worked with" Monsanto to secure the rider. "[T]his all can be boiled down into a single, common phrase: a special interest loophole, and a doozy at that," writes Dustin Siggins, who blogs for Tea Party Patriots. ...

Critics, including environmentalists and Tea Partiers, "say Congress caved to the biotech lobby, which they see as especially galling given the success of industry stalwart Monsanto. ... Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., took some early blame for the rider, including from the Center for Food Safety (CFS). ... 

But several days later, Mikulski issued a press release distancing herself from the measure. "Senator Mikulski understands the anger over this provision. She didn't put the language in the bill and doesn't support it either," the statement said. ...

In fact, as Blunt tells Politico, he was able to introduce the rider thanks partly to Mikulski's predecessor on the committee, the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. Inouye was "sympathetic given Monsanto's large seed operations in Hawaii," Politico reports. As much controversy as the provision has generated, though, it has a relatively short shelf life. Unless it's renewed by Congress this year — and the Senate Appropriations chairwoman is now on record saying she opposes it — the Monsanto Protection Act is slated to expire after six months, when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30."

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/politics/blogs/what-is-the-monsanto-pro...

 

jerrym

In 2011, regulators of more than 100 countries agreed to guidelines that will make it easier for food producers to have GM labels on their products. However, Canadian consumers have not seen any GM label products as the agreement was voluntary. Canadians have the right to choose whether or not they eat GM food as it is now found in more than 70% of our processed food. Without GM labeling this is impossible. The NDP should start promoting mandatory GM labeling and catch up with much of the rest of the world.

"The Codex Alimentarius Commission, a group of more than 100 of the world's food safety regulatory agencies, agreed to the guidelines after years of debate.

Until then, the U.S. had objected to such labels. But during the 2011 annual Codex summit in Geneva, the U.S. delegation surprised many by deciding to drop its opposition. ...

In Canada, about 70 per cent of food sold includes genetically modified ingredients from such common crops as corn, soy, and canola.

While many other countries now have mandatory GM labelling rules in place, Canada does not.

Health Canada, which shares responsibility with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for food labelling policies, does allow food makers to voluntarily mention whether their foods contain GM ingredients. But Eric Darier, who heads the anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms) campaign for Greenpeace Canada, says such standards aren't effective.

"I challenge your readers to find one label in Canada that mentions whether the food contains GE ingredients," Darier told CTV.ca in an interview.

"Voluntary labelling doesn't work."

Darier says while food labels in Canada won't change because of this agreement, but it does allow other countries to enact their own mandatory labelling standards without fear of reprisals from big GM-crop producers like the U.S. and Canada."

http://www.ctvnews.ca/deal-reached-on-labels-for-genetically-modified-fo...

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

jerrym wrote:

The website below has a connection to the documentary "The World according to Monsanto". The following quote is part of the introduction to the documentary.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-world-according-to-monsanto/

Thanks for posting the link. I watched this nearly 2hr. film and every minute was interesting. I'll be promoting it amongst my friends and family.

jerrym

Michael Moriarity wrote:

jerrym wrote:

The website below has a connection to the documentary "The World according to Monsanto". The following quote is part of the introduction to the documentary.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-world-according-to-monsanto/

Thanks for posting the link. I watched this nearly 2hr. film and every minute was interesting. I'll be promoting it amongst my friends and family.

Thanks for passing it on.

jerrym

duplicate

jerrym

Greenpeace Canada has an article "How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods: A Greenpeace Shoppers Guide" at the following website: 

http://gmoguide.greenpeace.ca/shoppers_guide.pdf

jerrym

With 95% of soybean and cotton and 85% of corn being planted today being GM crops that are resistant to pesticides such as Roundup, the long predicted development of superweeds that are pesticide resistant has hit with full force. This is also resulting in more herbicide residue being present in the food we eat.  

" 'Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and they are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent,' Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook said.

The annual increase in the herbicides required to deal with tougher-to-control weeds on cropland planted to GE cultivars has grown from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011.

Herbicide-tolerant crops worked extremely well in the first few years of use, Benbrook's analysis shows, but over-reliance may have led to shifts in weed communities and the spread of resistant weeds that force farmers to increase herbicide application rates (especially glyphosate), spray more often and add new herbicides that work through an alternate mode of action into their spray programs."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002092839.htm

jerrym

The following article describes how Monsanto and the rest of the GM industry used lies and deception to advocate that California voters reject Proposition 37, which would have led to labelling of GM foods, in last years election.  

For example, Henry Miller, whos was the main voice and face in the media of the GM industry, portrayed himself as a professor at Stanford University. He is not. "He’s a research fellow at a conservative think tank (the Hoover Institute) that has offices on the Stanford campus." The industry was forced to pull these ads when the truth was discovered, although he was still used in other ads.

Miller claimed that Proposition 37 would only serve the special interests behind it, ignoring the fact that the GM industry is an extremely profitable corporate sector seeking to totally control food production from the time of seed planting to the grocery store. He also claimed GM labelling would cost each consumer hundreds of dollars a year, despite the fact that there is no evidence for this in the European Union and many other countries where it has been adapted.

In fact, Miller is a "premier corporate flack.  He was a founding member of the Philip Morris backed front group that tried to discredit the links between tobacco products and cancer.  After the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, he argued that exposure to radiation from the disaster could actually provide health benefits.  He argues that drug companies, not the FDA, should be responsible for testing new drugs.  And he is a board member of the George C. Marshall Institute which, funded by oil and gas companies, is notorious for its denial of climate change."

Another corporate flack, Ronald Kleinman, a physician, was dressed in the obligatory white coat for image purposes during GM industry ads.  "Though the ads don’t mention it, Dr. Kleinman’s ethical principles don’t seem to hamper him from being a highly paid voice for the interests of the junk food companies.  While working for Coca-Cola, he advocated for “the safety…of sugar, artificial colors and nonnutritive sweeteners in children’s diets.”

Furthermore, in addition to "misrepresenting Stanford University (three times), the pesticide and junk food companies behind No on 37 have also:

  1. Misled voters in the state voter guide by claiming falsely that the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, believes GMO foods are safe.
  2. Illegally affixed the official US FDA seal to their campaign propaganda, and attributed a fabricated quote to the FDA, falsely implying that the FDA has taken a position against Prop 37."

Unfortunately, by grossly outspending the supporters of Proposition 37 in their advertising and introducing the false fear of much higher food bills, the GM industry won the battle. 

https://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/10/23-9

jerrym

Superweeds are also driving up "Farming costs, food prices and agricultural pollution" because herbicide resistance of superweeds means farmers must use expensive mixtures of chemicals to control weeds.

As early as 2002, 80% of soybean fields in Indiana had herbicide resistant weed strains. "Such weeds can double or triple the costs of weed control, he said, and lead to more tillage, more erosion, more water pollution from run-off, increased costs, yield losses and higher food prices."

By 2012, superweeds had infested millions of acres in the United States and southwestern Ontario. 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/10/07/technology-superweeds...

 

The following map shows the number of species of superweeds in the American states. The darker the colour is, the more different superweed species are present in a state. Glyphosate is the prinicpal ingredient in Roundup herbicide.

http://foodfreedom.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/superweed-map-xnytimes.jpg

 

By 2012, Monsanto had to admit that "the bushy plant Kochia is no longer being killed by the company's Roundup in parts of Canada" and that superweeds had now appeared in western Canada (Alberta) for the first time.

"In the U.S., Roundup-resistant weeds such as kochia and Palmer amaranth have invaded 14 million acres of cotton, soybean and corn, and that will double by 2015, Syngenta AG said last year. A Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) study in 2011 found as many as 20 million acres of corn and soybeans may already be infested." 

http://www.gmwatch.org/component/content/article/13605

jerrym

"The Non-GMO Project’s paper GM Crops – Just the Science presents over one hundred research studies and other authoritative papers documenting the limitations and risks of GE crops.

At the same time, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) points out that GE foods are approved for human consumption based on industry- produced science that is not peer-reviewed and cannot be accessed by the public or independent scientists. Without peer review, the data used to approve products cannot be assumed to be good science, or indeed science at all."

http://www.naturallifemagazine.com/1110/whats_the_problem_with_GMOs.htm

 

Here is the Non-GMO Projects website

http://www.nongmoproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/GM-Crops-just-th...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Breaking: Vermont House Passes GMO Labeling Bill

In a legislative blow against GMO giant Monsanto and major food corporations who wish to keep you in the dark over what you’re eating on a daily basis, the Vermont House has passed a significant new GMO labeling bill known as H. 112 by a count of 99-42.

I will be covering more news on this as it develops, but the great voter turnout means that representatives are either waking up to the reality of GMOs or at least being forced by voters to go ahead and take action on the GMO labeling issue. And as we’ve seen in other states like New Mexico, it comes down to a grassroots campaign demanding that action be taken while spreading awareness on a national level....

http://naturalsociety.com/breaking-vermont-house-passes-gmo-labeling-bill/#ixzz2TDpxIG8b

arborman

I don't personally have an issue with GMP crops in general, though I do with the idea of Terminator style seeds.  We must be reaching the patent expiration on a lot of these technologies by now, since we've been talking about them since the 90s.  So let's get those technologies out there where they can be used as a force for good.

jerrym

arborman wrote:

I don't personally have an issue with GMP crops in general, though I do with the idea of Terminator style seeds.  We must be reaching the patent expiration on a lot of these technologies by now, since we've been talking about them since the 90s.  So let's get those technologies out there where they can be used as a force for good.

That is not happening anytime soon, after the US Supreme Court yesterday ruled unanimously against soybean farmer Vernon Bowman and in favour of Monsanto that farmers 

Quote:
 could not use patented genetically modified soybeans to create new seeds without paying the company.

The case – which was cast by the farmer's supporters as a classic tale of David vs Goliath – could well dictate the future of modern farming. ...

The decision will be seen as a big defeat for those who had looked to Bowman's case to challenge the growing power over modern farming that is wielded by giant agricultural and biotech firms. By the start of this year, Monsanto had filed 144 lawsuits against 466 farmers and small farm businesses alleging patent infringement, according to a report from the Centre for Food Safety which has championed Bowman's case.

The report noted that three big companies now control more than half of the global seed market – a position that has sent prices soaring. The report said the average cost of planting an acre of soybeans had risen 325% between 1995 and 2011.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/13/supreme-court-monsanto...

I suggest that you also look at all the environmental problems identified in scientific studies and by journalists in earlier posts in order to see how GM crops effects include the development of superweeds, increased pesticide residues in our food, cancer rates, allergies, ecosystem disruption, energy consumption, and cross pollination contamination of other species. How about also letting people in North America, like many other countries around the world, decide whether they want to consume GM foods, which are in 70-75% of our processed food products, by requiring the labelling of which foods are GM?

 

 

 

 

arborman

Just to be clear - a generalized interest in what can be done or created with genetic engineering is not equal to support for Monsanto (or corporate abuse of natural technologies and knowledge for profit).

Patents remain in effect for 14 years, beyond which the technology becomes public.

I'd like to see citations or links to scientific studies that directly or indirectly link GMOs to cancer, allergies or the rest.  I am interested, but I am not convinced by generalized assertions.

jerrym

If you click on the following site you will find 136 references, many from scientific journals, at the end of the article. 

http://www.nongmoproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/GM-Crops-just-th...

With regard to patents, the GM industry has only to look at the pharmaceutical industry, the most profitable industry in the world on a percentage basis, to learn how to subvert patents. With regard to new pharmaceuticals, 90% of all new pharmaceuticals have no improvement in clinically identified beneficial effects. By changing the size of the pill or the type of coating etc. and by using within the company studies, the pharmaceutical company is able to often get a new patent just before the old one runs out. Then it promotes the hell out of the new drug to doctors and the public and often relatively soon stops making the old one whose patent is running out. Their army of salesmen offer free samples to doctors and in some cases even trips to "conventions" in Hawaii and other promotions to entice them to change. With the field dominated by a few firms, the pharmaceutical firms form an oligarchy, and the GM firms, with even fewer major firms in the industry, are an even stronger oligarchy. The pharmaceutical firms also politically push to suppress the generic firms that try to produce cheap copies of their drugs when the patents end. Do you think the GM industry cannot use the same tactics?

The US Supreme Court ruling yesterday enables the GM industry to maintain control of the vast majority of the seed market through contracts and the industry will of course use the US government to help enforce it elsewhere in the world through trade treaties and other means. 

By the way, you didn't answer the question:  are you in favour letting people in North America, like many other countries around the world, decide whether they want to consume GM foods, which are in 70-75% of our processed food products, by requiring the labelling of which foods are GM, so that consumers at least have some choice in the matter?

jerrym

Here is an article from the UK that is somewhat optimistic that the ongoing EU-US trade treaty negotiations could lead to a reduction in GM products because Europeans tend to skeptical about them. Frankly, I think it is more likely that it will weaken EU laws governing GM foods but here is the argument.

Quote:

The EU, which loathes American food safety practices, could, by exerting pressure on the negotiations, actually end up improving the quality or variety of food available to Americans. ...

About 93% of the soybean seeds in the United States are genetically modified, along with 88% of corn, 94% of cotton and 90% of sugarbeets, which provide about 54% of the sugar sold in America, as the HuffPo's blog has pointed out. McDonald's, one of the biggest buyers of potatoes, has an outsize influence on the shape of the US potato supply. This week, one of its major potato processors, JR Simplot, raised the possibility of growing genetically modified potatoes again. ...

If America wants to export more beef, chicken and crops to the European Union, it will have to make better products. The EU won't stand for the ones we're peddling now.

The EU looks down on American food safety and production practices, and with good reason. American meat production is heavily reliant on chemicals, from hormones to chlorine-bleach baths, and European officials and consumers largely reject these treatments and standards.

American farmers and food industry officials find this European exactitude on food practices bewildering, as captured in the comment of Ron Frye, the marketing manager for a Montana ranch, when talking with the Financial Times: "If it's good enough for us it ought to be good enough for them."

The US government is friendly to agribusiness interests; from the supreme court to the State Department, it's hard to find a government department hostile to corporate interests like those of, say, Monsanto. Yesterday, Monsanto won a supreme court case that allowed it to claim a patent on its genetically modified seeds no matter how farmers came by them. The justices ruled that whether farmers come across Monsanto seeds in grain silos, as useless among feed, or from third parties, the company must be paid for its patented seeds.

Monsanto also spurred a legislative provision preventing the government from taking action to stop genetically modified seeds, even if they were found to be harmful to the health of consumers. The GM giant's influence also seems to reach into the State Department, where officials travel the world singing the praises of genetically modified crops. ...

In the US, Big Agriculture calls the shots; the European Union argues that it shouldn't. A trade deal would be the testing ground for a battle over food standards to play out.

The EU has little love for Monsanto or other chemical companies with a stake in agribusiness, like Germany's BASF. The EU has approved only two genetically modified crops – corn from Monsanto and potatoes from BASF. Even those modest approvals have met cultural roadblocks. Around eight EU, including France, Italy and Poland, have taken steps to ban Monsanto's GM corn. BASF, after seeking approvals for three of its potato varieties in Europe, gave up trying after a regulatory quest that took nearly four years.

All of which tells us that if the US wants to export more agricultural products through its trade agreement with the EU, things are probably going to have to change here, as well.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/15/us-eu-trade-deal-mon...

 

 

jerrym

Whole Foods has become the first North American grocery chain to announce that it will label GM foods in its store. Although it is an organic grocer, it does sell non-organic foods. Unfortunately, it says it will take until 2018 to do this. 

http://www.usatoday.com/money/

That's why we need more than voluntary labeling in North America. The Vermont legislation is the first step in that direction.

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