A newly published book which gives information on what the regulators and regulated are doing to each other about genetically modified food is just the wake-up call we all need to learn what is being done to us!
The book is called
DON'T WORRY [IT'S SAFE TO EAT]by ANDREW ROWELL - THE TRUE STORY OF GM FOOD, BSE AND FOOT AND MOUTH and was published by EARTHSCAN in 2003
STOP PRESS by Rowell at the beginning of the book:
Just as this book was going to press in May 2003, the US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced that the USA, Argentina, Canada and Egypt would file a case at the WTO against the EU’s “illegal” five-year moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The USA was joined by Australia (my italics), Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Hoduras, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Uruguay, but not by African nations that it had been trying desperately to get on board. “The EU’s moratorium violates WTO rules”, said Zoellick. “People around the world have been eating biotech food for years. Biotech food helps nourish the world’s hungry population, offers tremendous opportunities for better health and nutrition and protects the environment by reducingsoil erosion and pesticide use.” Veneman added, more bluntly: “With this case, we are fighting for the interest of American agriculture.”
This book should serve as a warning about what happens when economic interests overrule those of the consumer. If the US action succeeds, GM foods will be forced onto European markets regardless of the wishes of consumers. Underpinning the US case is the claim that GM food is safe and healthy to eat. Read this book and make up your own mind. (my italics)
What’s with this genetically modified, increasingly imposed, and hidden substance in our food? If I don’t want to eat it because it hasn’t been tested for human side-effects, I don’t seem to have much choice.
In my home food cupboard and my refrigerator are loads of products carrying labels which say: “made in Australia from local and important ingredients,” “packed in Australia from cocoa processed in Singapore,” “packed in Australia from imported and Australian juices,” “product of Australia: ingredients: blended vegetable oils” etc. etc. These products are all well-known Australian brands.
In all, I found only one, pasta shapes, which contained the words, “Free of genetic modification.”
So, what kind of choice have I? To live on pasta shapes because none of the other labels, particularly those featuring imported ingredients, tell me what the pasta shapes tells me?
And another thing … I buy my fruit and vegetables, chicken and fish, at our very large Preston Market –a smaller version of the famous Victoria Markets-- and I have no way of knowing whether or not my tomatos, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, bok choy, oranges, pears, bananas, pineapples, etc. have been contaminated by GM. I do know that last season oranges I bought had come from the USA. They had small stickers that said so!
Furthermore, when scientists in the USA, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and elsewhere working for armament manufacturers inventing and designing WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) are portrayed as SMDs (shy, mild-mannered and dignified) like the late British scientist, Dr Kelly, I have to wonder about the GM scientists employed by large food biotechnology companies like Monsanto. Can any of us ordinary mortals trust “a company man or woman?” signed: Kendall Lovett.
Similar letter emailed to Melbourne Herald Sun, Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC Radio National “Bush Telegraph” programme in September 2003. KL.
The following series of emails to Peerless Foods asking about a certain product and also whether there were GM ingredients were only partially responded to. The issue of Genetically Modified Ingredients in Peerless Margarines did not ever get answered. You can draw your own conclusions!!
I have not had any answers to my queries about salt-reduced tablelands andgenetically modified ingredients. Also the dairy free we bought in Sydney was a 500gcarton, and this is not available at Coles or Safeway.Hope to hear from you soon.
Thanks for your prompt reply. However, you answered one of my questions and not the other. What has happened to the green pack of salt-reduced tablelands which used to be available at Coles and Safeway, but disappeared from both about two years ago.
Perhaps you can also answer another question - do your products contain genetically modified ingredients, and if so, what are they?
On 1 Sep 2005 at 10:59, Ron READ wrote:
Mannie, 750 GM (? my question mark!) Dairy Free Tablelands is avail at all Safeway stores. RONREAD
enquiry = When I was in Sydney a month ago I purchased tablelands DairyFree.I have looked for this in Preston in Melbourne at Bilo, Coles, Safeway,and have not been able to find it.These same supermarkets also used to stock tablelands Salt Reduced, andthis has totally disappeared. As you seem to be still advertising it onthe label inside tablelands Regular, could you advise why these othertwo are not available?
Just when we thought it was comparatively safe to go into our supermarkets and find food that has not been genetically modified comes a report that it is now being looked at again, by the Victorian Government amongst others.
Jim Peacock, a government scientist, has been insulting those of us in the population at large who may voice their concerns at the possible submission of governments to firms like Monsanto and others who specialise in GM and who are using similar arguments to those used by the smoking lobby to get their messages about their poisons out to the public.
GM has not yet undergone the stringent testing which is necessary over a reasonable period of time to find out what the long-term effects of the technology are, and two letters in The Age on 17 May 2007 give very interesting arguments against the pernicious spread of GM into our bodies:
LETTER NO.1 - by Brett Hedger:
Matter of genetically modified principle
"For Australia's chief scientist, Jim Peacock, to refer to people opposed to genetic modification of our plants and animals as "unprincipled minorities" (The Age, 16/5) is insulting at best.
It is similar to the logic used to counter tobacco, native forest logging, climate change and the war in Iraq - if you are not with us, you are against us and you are most certainly stupid.
These claims are disingenuous and outrageous.
I suggest Dr Peacock spend his time with GM farmers in the US. It is well documented that they have been well and truly screwed by the "science" and the "law" of companies such as Monsanto. I declare that the chief scientist is part of an unprincipled minority and part of a self-serving, ill-informed, scientific activist group.
What next, that GM foods will allow us to feed the "world"? Poppycock."
LETTER NO.2 - by Helen Wallace:
"I don't consider myself part of an "unprincipled minority". First, because for myself and others like me, our principles are all that we are standing up for. We aren't concerned about big grants or other payments from the companies that are pushing GM at us - when you see that money trail, you have to wonder about what principles are being ignored. Second, because I am not part of a minority. The majority of people feel uneasy about the effects of GM, which are deliberately untested, on our bodies, let alone on our agriculture.
Because I have spent some time finding out about the effects of GM, my family, friends and I don't buy anything now unless it says "non-GM" on the packet."
Part of an article by Chee Chee Leung in the same paper - on a whole page dedicated to a discussion on Genetically Modified crops - tells that "Consumers Association Choice had been campaigning for tougher GM labelling laws, saying any involvement of GM material should be disclosed to buyers.
"Consumer concerns aren't simply about the end product, but about the process", said Choice's food policy officer, Clare Hughes.
"Some people are probably fine with the whole process and don't have any concerns. Others might prefer to avoid products that are genetically modified to any extent.""
The following letter appeared in The Age newspaper on 20 November 2007. The debate is on the agenda and we will have to be very careful to ensure that the message is loud and clear to the Australian public - Genetically Modified Food is dangerous and if we let the genie out of the bottle we will not be able to put it back! - and the winners will be Monsanto and the other big companies. The rest of us will all be the losers!
So don't let it happen!
RECENTLY the genetic engineering fraternity has been publishing opinions as if from independent authorities.
They promise that if we lift the genetically modified crop bans farmers will become wealthy, crops will grow during drought in salty soils, the starving will be fed, and the environment will be saved. Wow, pretty impressive — if these claims weren't simply hot air.
Their first green revolution enriched chemical companies, not farmers. Farmers' wealth, their landholding, is declining in places due to that technology bringing over-production, dead soils, depleted rivers and, sadly, suicides.
Governments that can't make the connection between 50 years of chemical agriculture and the pandemic of human diseases aren't playing with a straight deck. It's the food, stupid. GMO is just more chemical agriculture, this time on steroids.
GM's PhD mouthpieces mislead people by touting that American farmers can "choose" to use GMO. That comes at the loss of choice for every American consumer who is not allowed to choose what they eat because US labelling laws hide the presence of genetically modified organisms in their cereals, beverages, dairy and meat.
If the only way to get consumers to eat GMO is to mislead them or take away their choice, then just what is going on here?
This GMO experiment, if we let it proceed, will only end in suffering.
Richard Graham, chairman, Palerang Agricultural Society, Bungendore, NSW
Two Australian state governments have this week decided to lift the moratorium on the planting of genetically modified canola crops and Monsanto and Bayer and other similar companies must be looking at the increased profits they will be banking and providing extra dividends to their share-holders!
John Brumby (Victoria) and Morris Iemma (NSW) will end up losing government over their arrogant disregard for the wishes of the people of their states. They have caved in to farming lobbies and to the big chemical companies who have been pressuring them to lift the ban when the time came to review the situation.
Evidence from overseas countries continues to alarm, and Europe is still opposed to GM foods as is also Japan. Victorian and NSW premiers have decided that GM would be good for the economies of their states, but they may decide otherwise after they have seen the results of letting the genie out of the bottle into which it can not be returned. They will live to regret their decisions based on their arrogant disregard for the realities of the fact that long-term effects of GM introduction to foods will have a deleterious effect on the health of humans and animals ingesting this tampering with nature.
Some of us will not be around to suffer the effects of GM, but those who will be around in the decades to come will discover all sorts of problems which haven't yet even been thought of!
Here are some of the items which have appeared in The Age newspaper. Remember, you have been warned - and warned - and warned!!!
Latest related coverage
A DECISION to allow genetically modified canola to be grown in Victoria has inflamed dissent in the Brumby Government and sparked warnings that non-GM farms could be contaminated.
Anti-GM activists have also lashed the decision, saying consumers face a growing array of food made from GM material — without always knowing when they are buying it.But the move was welcomed by rural interests as sensible, and backed by scientists who say the risks of adverse consequences are minimal.
Farmers in Victoria and NSW will be free to plant genetically modified canola from early next year after both states yesterday announced the lifting of bans on the controversial crops — despite appeals not to do so from Western Australia and Tasmania.
The Brumby Government accepted a recommendation from a scientific panel headed by Victoria's chief scientist, Sir Gustav Nossal.
Announcing the decision, Premier John Brumby said it would boost the economy and help the environment.
Cabinet approved the lifting of the ban on Monday, despite stinging criticism of the Premier from some of his own MPs.
Copies of Sir Gustav's review were released by the Premier only after it was announced that the ban would be removed.
Labor MP Tammy Lobato said she was disappointed that MPs had been left out of the process. She said an independent panel should have investigated the issues and its report released for public discussion.
Another MP, who declined to be named, said Mr Brumby was "treating caucus like idiots".But another MP came to Mr Brumby's defence, saying he had been open on the issue and given all sides a good hearing.
The Age revealed on Saturday that Mr Brumby faced a revolt over the issue, with one MP branding him arrogant and criticising his "crash-through" style. "He just won't listen," the MP told The Age. "He's good at numbers but he can't read people."
Five Labor MPs wrote to Sir Gustav's panel expressing fears about GM crops and calling for the moratorium to be kept.
Yesterday Mr Brumby was unapologetic, saying it was the "nature of politics" that people with strong views would be critical of views they didn't like.
"I have listened to the views of caucus and in my own heart I have done everything right in terms of listening," he said.
Mr Brumby said removing the ban would deliver greater choice to farmers and consumers and generate $115 million in economic activity in Victoria over eight years.
He said GM canola would also benefit the environment by requiring less pesticide on crops, and argued that GM technology could bring other benefits such as salt-resistant and drought-resistant grains and allergy-resistant grass.
Sir Gustav said he was confident that industry could keep GM products segregated from the farm gate to the supermarket. Keeping the moratorium, on the other hand, would have had a negative impact on scientific research and development.
He said he was "sure as I can be of any other thing that the health and environment aspects of GM canola have been thoroughly examined". But he conceded that in some people's eyes, there would be damage to Victoria's clean, green image.
Bob Phelps of Gene Ethics said there was no labelling of GM canola foods so the food on shelves would leave shoppers without a choice.
Canola products, such as margarine and oil, are heavily refined and are therefore not covered by labelling requirements on GM products.
The organic food sector criticised the Government for not introducing buffer zones around GM crops.
The Victorian Farmers Federation, backing the decision, said farmers had to compete against 10 million farmers in 22 countries using GM products. "It is unfair to the Australian farmer not to have the choice to use that technology," the federation's Simon Ramsay said.
The Nationals said the decision was a victory for common sense. "GM crops will require less pest and weed control, use less water and potentially reclaim salt-affected land," leader Peter Ryan said.
But Greens upper house MP Greg Barber said GM canola could contaminate nearby crops and genetic traits, such as herbicide resistance, could cross into weed species.With ORIETTA GUERRERA, AAP
AFTER returning from a research tour through North and South America and Europe last year, any doubts that third-generation grain grower Andrew Broad had about the benefits of genetically modified canola subsided.
"I spent a lot of time talking to farmers who have been growing the crop for 10 to 12 years, and I asked them if they could turn back the clock what are the mistakes they've made and have they made the right decision, both environmental and financially," he said yesterday."I saw both sides of the argument, but most of the farmers I spoke to … were overwhelming in support of the technology.
"Farmers tell the truth to other farmers."
Mr Broad, 32, intends to be among the first Victorian farmers to grow GM canola after the State Government announced yesterday that it would not extend its ban on the commercial production of GM canola when it expires in February.
Rejecting the current canola varieties on the market as "substandard", the young farmer from Bridgewater, north-west of Bendigo, has over the past four years gradually halved the area he sows with canola. But with the ban now lifted, he plans once again to increase his crop to close to 400 hectares.
On what is a highly controversial topic among consumers and agricultural communities, Mr Broad denies he is a "one-eyed" GM supporter.
He said he had been swayed by research showing that GM canola can boost yields, reduce on-farms costs and use of pesticides, and help with weed management.
"I just felt that this is something where Australian agriculture was being left behind in the global market," Mr Broad said.
Only limited GM canola will be available for next autumn's planting season because of a shortage of seed. But Premier John Brumby said it should be available to all farmers by 2010."I think we'll see a slow uptake at the start, but that would be a matter of choice for farmers," he said.
What is genetic modification?
Also known as genetic engineering, this allows scientists to take a gene from one organism and insert it into another to produce particular characteristics, for example resistance to herbicides or disease. It can also mean switching genes on or off in an organism.
What is canola?
A plant also called oilseed rape or rapeseed. Canola oil, produced by the crushing of canola seed, is used in margarines, oils and some processed foods, like biscuits. Canola meal is used as a feed supplement for livestock. Biofuel is an emerging use for canola. Along with corn and soy, it was targeted early in GM research; they were widely grown and there was considerable scientific understanding of the plants.
What GM canola will we see in Australia?
The federal Gene Technology Regulator has approved the commercial release of Bayer CropScience's InVigor canola, and Monsanto Australia's Roundup Ready canola. InVigor canola is genetically modified so that it produces hybrid seeds - which increases seed production - and is tolerant to the herbicide glufosinate ammonium. Roundup Ready is genetically modified to be tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate.
What are the expected benefits of GM canola?
Supporters say it could lead to increased production, as the non-GM herbicide-tolerant canola that makes up most of the country's crop has resulted in reduced yields. They say GM canola will also have environmental benefits, including reduced tillage - leading to less soil erosion - and a decrease in the use of pesticides and herbicides.
What are the risks to human health and the environment?
The federal Gene Technology Regulator says the two GM canola varieties pose no greater risk to human health or the environment than conventionally bred canola.
But GM opponents are not convinced, saying there have been no long-term studies of the effect of GM food on human health, and that studies with rats have suggested it leads to stunted growth. Anti-GM advocates also fear the introduction of GM canola could lead to contamination of non-GM crops through pollen drift, and the development of herbicide-resistant "superweeds".
What do experts say about superweeds?
The director of the Co-operative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management, Dr Rachel McFadyen, believes the fears are unfounded, and GM canola is no more likely to become a weed outside the crop than ordinary canola. But she says there is a potential for common weeds like ryegrass and wild radish to become resistant to glyphosate, requiring alternative weed management strategies, including the use of different herbicides.
What is the likelihood of contamination?
Scientists studying the spread of a non-GM variety of canola in Australia picked up traces of it three kilometres away from where crops were planted, but in proportions ranging from zero to 0.07%, and an average of 0.009% - within the 0.09% threshold. GM opponents remain adamant that segregation in other countries has failed and contamination will occur, but the Victorian review panel believes industry can achieve effective separation of GM and non-GM crops through self-regulation.
Who has the responsibility for GM?
The Commonwealth's Office of the Gene Technology Regulator is responsible for assessing any potential health and environmental risks of a genetically modified organism. Food Standards Australia New Zealand checks whether GM foods are safe to eat. All approved GM foods must show they are GM on the label, but there are exemptions including highly refined products - such as canola oil - and food prepared in restaurants. In Victoria, procedures to deal with the consideration of future commercial GM crops are yet to be developed. "We haven't had the applications, so we haven't set up the process," Premier John Brumby said yesterday.
I have just found your website re: GM food. I thought I might forward to you the latest newsletter from GeneEthics – the anti-GM group – who are pushing hard this week as we near the end of the GM ban in Victoria.
I was wondering if you would be able to spread it around your networks to help spread the word?
From: Gene Ethics [mailto:email@example.com]
Premier Brumby says Victoria's GM canola ban will be allowed to lapse this Thursday, February 28.
Victoria is a renegade, going it alone, as WA, SA, Tasmania and the ACT will continue to be GM-free.
Bayer and Monsanto (licensee NuFarm) may begin to sell seed for the permanent and unrestrictedcommercial release of herbicide tolerant GM canola crops. But that is NOT the end of the story ...
We can stop this madness if we act together!!
1. Protest to your state MPs and Premier Brumby at http://geneethics.org/actnow/display/2before Thursday February 28. Also, ring and write a personal note to your own MPs, in both thelower and upper house of state parliament. The government can just write a new date in theexecutive order behind GM ban. Tell them to do it! Why? See the Gene Ethics briefing on the'GM canola bans - unresolved threshold issues' at http://geneethics.org/resource
2. Rally on Parliament House steps, Spring Street Melbourne Thursday February 28 at Noon.See the attached flier for details.
3. Print or order GM-free Zone signs for your place at http://geneethics.org/resourceThousands of these signs are posted but more are needed in high profile spots.
4. Print the GM-free Zone petitions at http://geneethics.org/resourcePlease get these petitions signed locally and submit them to your local councillor or Mayor.Gene Ethics has written to all councils asking them to declare a GM-free Zone but your local supportis essential if councils are to take the demand for GM-free Zones seriously.
5. Join or form a local group. Gene Ethics can put you in touch with others in your area.The GM-free campaign will continue in the food stores and supermarkets.
To donate securely online to the joint Environment Projects Australia & Gene Ethics Education Project please visit: http://www.geneethics.org Click on donation buttonOr you may (local) call 1300 133 868 to make your donation on the phone.Or send your cheque or card details to Gene Ethics 60 Leicester St, Carlton 3053
Donations to the joint Environment Projects Australia & Gene Ethics EducationProject of A$2 or more are tax deductible. If you have already donated recently,please accept our sincere thanks.......................................................................
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The Government intends to lapse our State ban on Genetically Manipulated (GM) canola on Friday of this week.
As an elected member for the Northern Metropolitan Region, I think you should tell the Premier that a lot of people (and I’m one of them) in your region want the ban to stay because as shoppers we will not be able to know whether or not the Australian canola product we buy is GM free if he allows the ban to lapse. Victoria by lifting its ban allows GM canola to enter the food chain and be grown in Victoria unrestricted, unregulated and unlabelled GM.
It looks to me as though the Premier did not ask the wider food industry and any of us if we wanted the ban lifted. He only listened to the big agribusiness front groups for Monsanto and Bayer.
So, please stand up in Parliament for those of us who want the ban retained. After all the other States are not lifting their bans on GM like Victoria plans to do.Sincerely,
Similar letter sent to MLC Jenny Mikakos, MLC Nazih Elasma and MLA Robin Scott.
The following article appeared in the Sunday Age on 2 March 2008 in response to the concerns being expressed in Victoria about the ban on gm canola being lifted by the Victorian state government:
GROCERY giant Woolworths has called for all food containing genetically modified ingredients to be clearly labelled, as Victorian farmers prepare to sow GM canola for the first time.In a statement to The Sunday Age, Woolworths chief executive Michael Luscombe said that while the company supported choice for farmers it strongly advocated clear "labelling of all GM ingredients in food products to protect the interests of our customers and to enable informed decision making".
Woolworths operates more than 900 supermarkets, which account for an estimated 30% of the Australian grocery and liquor market. It has a policy of avoiding GM ingredients in its house-brand products wherever possible.
The stance by Woolworths highlights a contentious loophole in current labelling standards, which do not require food items containing highly refined GM material, such as oil from modified canola, to be labelled as GM.
Woolworths also expressed concern for those farmers opposed to GM technology.
"Woolworths believes that segregation protocols and assurance processes for GM and non-GM crops should be considered very carefully to protect the rights of those farmers who choose to stay GM-free," Mr Luscombe's statement said.
Anti-GM campaigners welcomed the retailer's stance.
Greenpeace's community organiser on the GM issue, Louise Sales, said it was good to see Woolworths standing up for the rights of consumers because once the NSW and Victorian moratoriums were lifted, "there's going to be a large influx of GM canola, which is going to make its way unlabelled and unwanted into the food chain".
Jim Cooper, a spokesman for Australia's second largest retailer, Coles, said the company believed current labelling requirements for GM ingredients were reasonable.
"However, we're aware that this is an emerging and often contentious issue, and if the consensus across grower groups, industry, government and consumers was that the labelling of GM ingredients should be changed in the future, then we would support a review," he said.Coles required its house-brand products to be GM-free, and asked suppliers to provide it with a supply chain audit trail to certify the origins of all goods.
Mr Cooper said Coles would be introducing a GM testing program for house-brand products in coming months.
Independent grocery chain IGA said it believed the current labelling standards were adequate. Like Woolworths, it has a policy of not using GM ingredients in its house-brand products if possible.
Another retailer Foodland, which operates stores in NSW, South Australia and the Northern Territory, announced in January that customer feedback had prompted it to exclude GM ingredients from house-brand products.
Food processor Goodman Fielder, which owns brands including Meadow Lea, Praise, White Wings and Helga's, wrote to state premiers late last year warning of consumer unease about GM material in their food.
Consumer surveys show Australians are gradually becoming more tolerant of GM foods, but December 2007 research by Roy Morgan showed 51% of respondents would not buy GM foods if given the choice.
Dick Wells, the chief executive of the Australian Food and Grocery council, said the concerns customers expressed in surveys were often not reflected in purchasing behaviour."At the end of the day, consumers rule," he said. "If consumers don't want to buy these products, they will be delisted by the retailers."
But Clare Hughes, a senior food policy officer at consumer group Choice, said current labelling standards did not offer consumers enough information to make an informed choice.
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon did not respond to requests for comment.
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This year's GM wheat trials have begun, with plantings in the ACT, NSW and WA and claims by the Federal Government that Australians will be eating GM bread by 2015.
GM wheat will be planted in field trials across Australia this year, and our government science body, the CSIRO, plans to have GM bread on supermarket shelves by 2015. This year's feild trials are scientific scale trials, which means most are under one hectare in size. But if CSIRO suceeds with their plan for Australia to become the first country in the world to approve GM wheat, we could be facing large-scale commercial field trials of GM wheat within the next two years.
That means two things; global biotech patents on our daily bread, and inevitable contamination of Australian farmers' conventional and organic wheat crops.
While Austrlaia's GM wheat trials have been dressed-up as 'objective', scientific research, a Greenpeace investigation has revealed that global GM companies including Monsanto, Limagrain and BASF are the money behind the trials and are partnered with our so-called public research bodies to push GM wheat approval in Australia.
One of the clearest signs of the power of GM company dollars is the flimsy excuse for a risk assessment that the Australian Government performed before giving the all-clear for corporate scientists and their global biotech partners to release experimental GM wheat into the field. The Government recognises that "Gene technology has the potential to cause unintended effects due to random insertion of the introduced genetic material", but they go on to dismiss the risk of genetic pollution as negligible.
They also dismiss any risk of contamination of non-GM crops from this year's GM wheat field trials, even though all local and international evidence shows that GM can't be contained in the field. The biggest GM contamination event in history started with a small scale field trial of Bayer's GM rice. The single contamination event cost the rice industry $1.2 billion.
If you don't want GM bread and pasta, if you don't want our farmers to have to fight to prevent contamination of their wheat crop from Monsanto's patented GMOs, tell our Agriculture Minister that you don't want to eat GM bread and will hold his government responsible for any contamination from the GM wheat trials he has approved.
email@example.com to email the Minister, or call his office on (02) 6277 7520.
From Greenpeace - by email:
This morning women activists - including one mum - put a stop to the controversial genetically modified (GM) wheat trial outside Canberra.
They felt they had no choice. The government is failing to protect Australia’s most important food crop and our health, environment and economy are under threat.
Greenpeace’s recent report revealed that Australians will be in the world’s first GM human feeding experiment and it’ll take place without adequate safety testing. It also exposed the CSIRO's links to foreign biotech companies, like Monsanto, who want to patent and control Australia’s wheat.
All the other major wheat producing nations, such as the US, Canada and Russia, have rejected GM wheat due to the risks involved. Yet Australia's $4.7million wheat industry is up for grabs.
This GM wheat should never have left the lab. Once GM crops are released into the field, they are nearly impossible to contain. This means traditional wheat and other crops are at risk of becoming GM contaminated.
So the women activists did the government’s job and unplanted the GM wheat crops this morning. Click here for news articles and photos.
We know it's a strong action and will get a divided response. But we can't shy away from this serious issue. Please join me on Monday 18 July 7pm (AEST) for a live online chat where you can ask all your questions about our campaign. Click this link to join the chat on Monday.
You can also send your thoughts or questions now by emailing us here - your feedback is always valued.
Thank you for helping keep Australian wheat safe and healthy.Laura Kelly
PS Already written to the government? Thank you! Please forward this on to your friends too.
Article in The Age:
Australia's reputation as an outstanding food producer is at risk.
We are proud to be two of Australia's leading chefs and food industry spokesmen. Making and serving fresh and tasty food is a great pleasure for us. We have built our lives and careers around this passion.
But we are disturbed by the prospect that Australia may become one of the first countries in the world to grow and eat genetically modified wheat. Wheat is a fundamental part of our daily diet, the basis of bread, pasta, noodles, pastries and many other foods.
Whether or not you agree with its methods, Greenpeace's destruction of GM wheat from a CSIRO trial site just outside Canberra last week has stirred up the debate. And the state of our food - and the ways it is produced - is a debate worth having."As leading chefs, we will stop using wheat products if GM becomes prevalent." Photo: Louise Kennerley (not available at the moment)
The integrity of our food is continually being depleted by the demands of a fast-paced modern lifestyle. Our relationship with food is generally an unhealthy one. Agri-food manufacturers play on people's time poverty to sell ultra-processed fast foods full of salt, sugar, highly refined carbohydrates, additives and preservatives. These foods have nothing in common with the fresh fruit and vegetables and whole cereals that should make up the bulk of a healthy diet.
The CSIRO claims its experimental GM wheat could help reduce bowel cancer rates because of more ''resistant starch'', which is good for digestive health. Encouraging people to eat more brown bread, rice and oats would seem eminently safer and more sensible and affordable. And this can be done without turning to GM crops, which we consider to be unsafe. But of course that's not attractive to big international biotech firms that see a commercial advantage in GM crops.
The CSIRO and the Australian government are contradicting their own health advice that people should eat more wholegrains and a more varied diet. If people carry on eating the same kind of processed foods, drained of all the nutrients and life-giving energy we need, we can expect health problems to continue. GM wheat won't help this; the likelihood is it will only increase the amount of unnatural, processed food on supermarket shelves.
Even more troubling is the fact that GM plants have never been proven safe to eat. Through trial and error over many thousands of years, we have found what we can eat for health and nourishment and what we must stay away from.
New forms of food such as GM wheat have never been tested for safety. They have not undergone the kind of trial and error that all our naturally occurring foods have over thousands of years of being consumed - they are a whole new form of genetically modified life. And they have not been through the kind of safety testing demanded of new pharmaceutical products.
Food is a fundamental part of life. Protecting the integrity of our food and the reliability of our food supply is critical. We must ask what kind of world we are building for ourselves and for our children where we would prefer to spend billions of dollars creating unnecessary and risky genetically modified products, rather than following our grandmothers and mothers' advice of simply eating a balanced diet.
In a few generations our food and farming systems have been radically transformed. Once based around nature and human need, they are now controlled by corporations, from seed to supermarket, for the purpose of profit.
The menus in our restaurants, like those of other restaurants, cafes and family kitchens all around the country, feature wheat products such as bread and pastry every day. GM wheat will jeopardise our capacity to serve wholesome food we can rely on.
As leading chefs in Australia, we will stop using wheat products if GM becomes prevalent, or we will exclusively use certified organic wheat.
Australia's reputation as one of the best food producers and places to eat in the world is at risk. We are urging the Australian government to stop risking Australia's food industry and to put a stop to GM wheat trials.Neil Perry is the owner of Spice Temple and The Waiting Room in Melbourne, and Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney and Perth. Martin Boetz is the owner and executive chef at Longrain restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney. Both are signatories to Greenpeace's Chef's Charter, which aims to protect the quality and diversity of Australia's food.
Letters in The Age:
THE burden of proof that GM foods are safe to eat rests with their patent owners. Scientific American and Nature Biotechnology report that GM companies withhold seed from independent research, and adverse findings are censored. Even so, published papers show some GM soybean, corn and canola harm experimental animals and may pose health risks to people.
For instance, the ANU found CSIRO's GM field peas, containing a gene from a bean, provoked immune and inflammatory responses in mice. French researchers found rats fed GM maize showed significant liver and kidney damage. And scientists at Scotland's Rowett Institute found intestinal and immune system damage to rats fed GM potatoes. Now Canadian gynaecologists have found insect toxins from GM plants in the blood of pregnant women and their foetuses.
The false claims for GM crops take research away from sustainable farming and food production systems based on healthy soils.Bob Phelps, Gene Ethics, Carlton
BREEDING new GM varieties is a version of what wheat breeders have been doing for hundreds of years - mixing genes from different varieties(crossbreeding) and selecting new varieties that have characteristics (yield, protein content, adaptability to climatic and soil conditions) suitable for different growing conditions and markets.
More than 75 per cent of the world's soy crop and 25 per cent of the world's corn crop are derived from GM varieties. No major health issues there and it sure is better than starving.Horrie Poussard, St Kilda East
AS THE phone hacking scandal in the UK illustrates, there is a growing chasm of mistrust between corporations and their consumers. The world of GM food is no different. Food is an intimate part of who we are. With secrecy enveloping the details of the relationship between the CSIRO and the biggest biotechnology companies developing GM crops, it is inevitable that the public will express concern.
The near total exclusion of the consumer voice as to the future of food is reflected in survey after survey showing that around the world GM crops have little or no consumer acceptance. Australia's weak GM labelling laws only exacerbate this rejection.
GM crops are one of the few products whose success is dependent on the continued ignorance of the very people who will be consuming them.Greg Revell, North Warrandyte
NEIL Perry and Martin Boetz (Comment, 19/7) ignore the benefits from GM technology over the past few decades. GM crops adopted globally have provided higher yields per hectare, a dramatic drop in chemical use and less tillage of soils, while improving our ability to feed the world.
Advancement in food production via GM technology is supported and regulated by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, and state and federal chief scientists. Food with GM improvements is safe, and has been consumed by millions for decades.Max Rheese, Australian Environment Foundation, Benalla
Letter in The Age:
THE creation of GM organisms is not what breeders have been doing for hundreds of years. Traditional selective breeding involved the mating of individuals of the same (or related) species. Genetic engineering, however, tampers with DNA itself by inserting into an organism genes of any species along with some extra alien material that boosts the expression of the inserted gene. GM crops, therefore, may be loaded with proteins that have never formed part of a standard human diet. Consequently, every GM crop should be extensively (and independently) tested to ensure it does not pose any danger to human health.Esther Ginsberg, Bentleigh
Article received by email from Greenpeace:
Growing GM crops poses many risks, not least is the risk that they may contaminate conventional crops and wild vegetation. In Australia, recent contamination events at Steve Marsh’s organic farm at Kojonup, a GM canola spill in Williams and the flooding of Bob Mackely’s farm in Victoria have made contamination risks real, especially in the lives of farmers and rural communities.
In 2006-07, an experimental GM rice plantation in the US led to contamination of the global rice supply reaching to distant African, Asian and European markets. In July this year, Bayer eventually agreed to a US $750 million settlement resolving claims with around 11,000 U.S. farmers for market loses and clean-up costs for the GM contamination. The total costs to the rice industry are likely to have been over US $1 billion worldwide.
This contamination occurred in field trials not dissimilar to the GM wheat trials taking place in Australia. And contamination is not the only risk we face. The GM wheat currently being trialed is modified using a technique called RNA interference. This is very new science, which is not well understood - scientists are making new discoveries all the time. (See for example, an article in Cell Research a few weeks ago). It is simply not possible to properly control for health risks under these circumstances.
Dr. Cotter joins the scientific debate in Australia to stress the health and environmental risks associated with GM experiments. Earlier this week in Canberra, Dr. Cotter met with parliamentarians and policy makers, as well as debating Dr. Mark Tester from the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics on ABC radio.
In Perth, Mick Murray, WA Shadow Minister for Agriculture, will host a parliamentary briefing by Dr. Cotter, and next week, Dr. Cotter will make appearances in Adelaide and Sydney.
Talking to politicians, journalists, farmers and concerned consumers, Dr. Cotter will highlight inherent safety problems with techniques used in Australia's GM wheat, proposing a shift of investment to safe, reliable and effective modern plant breeding tools, such as Marker Assisted Selection.
In line with 400 leading agricultural scientists under the auspices of various United Nations agencies, Dr. Cotter also advocates ecological farming solutions for drought, climate risk and other agricultural challenges.
Have your say: Tell the Prime Minister you won’t swallow GM wheat.
Find out more: Follow some of the recent coverage of Dr. Cotter’s visit:• Dr. Cotter debates Mark Tester on ABC radio
The following article was from Nation of Change:
France is not bowing down to GMO giant Monsanto, now asking the European Commission to suspend authorization to Monsanto’s genetically modified corn. The news comes after France charged Monsanto with chemical poisoning after it was found that a farmer had suffered severe adverse health reactions as a result of exposure to Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller. Despite losing court rulings against Monsanto’s GMO corn, the environment ministry is attempting to fortify a ban on the crops over serious environmental concerns.
France originally banned the growing of the genetically modified corn, known as MON810, in 2008. The strain is currently the only GM crop approved for planting in the European Union, and has been targeted as a serious threat to the environment. The French government said back in November, following the ruling against the attempted ban by the highest court, that it would look at all ways possible to suspend GM planting. Perhaps they have finally found a viable strategy.
The risks posed to the environment by Monsanto’s creations are quite well documented. Monsanto’s GMO crops actually require more pesticides, as ‘mutant’ insects have become resistant to the biopesticide used to ward them off known as Bt. Bt is a toxin incorporated into genetically modified crops in order to kill different insects, however Bt usage has subsequently spawned insect populations which are resistant to the biopesticide. At least 8 populations of insects have developed resistance, with 2 populations resistant to Bt sprays and at least 6 species resistant to Bt crops as a whole.
Help us speak truth to power. Donate what you can afford to support NationofChange.On another front, Monsanto’s Roundup is creating farmland-crushing super weeds. Heavily resistant to the herbicide that Roundup contains known as glyphosate. These resistant weeds currently cover over 4.5 million hectares in the United States alone. Internationally, experts state that the coverage most likely rose to 120 million hectares by 2010. This places the numerical estimate much higher in 2012.
Is it any wonder why France is taking action against Monsanto and genetically modified foods alike? Nations like Hungary have already taken severe action, ripping up Monsanto’s corn from the very farmlands they were contaminating. We are continuing to see countries, states, and cities standing up against Monsanto’s reckless endangerment of the planet as a whole.
Article from Nation of Change:
Little did Willie Nelson know when he recorded “Crazy” years ago just how crazy it would become for our cherished family farmers in America. Nelson, President of Farm Aid, has recently called for the national Occupy movement to declare an “Occupy the Food System” action.
Nelson states, “Corporate control of our food system has led to the loss of millions of family farmers, destruction of our soil…”Hundreds of citizens, (even including NYC chefs in their white chef hats) joined Occupy the Food System groups, ie Food Democracy Now, gathered outside the Federal Courts in Manhattan on January 31st, to support organic family farmers in their landmark lawsuit against Big Agribusiness giant Monsanto. (Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association v. Monsanto) Oral arguments were heard that day concerning the lawsuit by 83 plaintiffs representing over 300,000 organic farmers, organic seed growers, and organic seed businesses.
The lawsuit addresses the bizarre and shocking issue of Monsanto harassing and threatening organic farmers with lawsuits of “patent infringement” if any organic farmer ends up with any trace amount of GM seeds on their organic farmland.
Judge Naomi Buckwald heard the oral arguments on Monsanto’s Motion to Dismiss, and the legal team from Public Patent Foundation represented the rights of American organic farmers against Monsanto, maker of GM seeds, [and additionally, Agent Orange, dioxin, etc.]
After hearing the arguments, Judge Buckwald stated that on March 31st she will hand down her decision on whether the lawsuit will move forward to trial.
Not only does this lawsuit debate the issue of Monsanto potentially ruining the organic farmers’ pure seeds and crops with the introduction of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) seeds anywhere near the organic farms, but additionally any nearby GM fields can withstand Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides, thus possibly further contaminating the organic farms nearby if Roundup is used.
Of course, the organic farmers don’t want anything to do with that ole contaminated GM seed in the first place. In fact, that is why they are certified organic farmers. Hello? But now they have to worry about getting sued by the very monster they abhor, and even have to spend extra money and land (for buffers which only sometimes deter the contaminated seed from being swept by the wind into their crop land). At this point, they are even having to resort to not growing at all the following organic plants: soybeans, corn, cotton, sugar beets, and canola, …just to protect themselves from having any (unwanted) plant that Monsanto could possibly sue them over.
“Crazy, crazy for feeling so…..”
The farmers are suffering the threat of possible loss of Right Livelihood. They are creating good jobs for Americans, and supplying our purest foods. These organic farmers are bringing Americans healthy food so we can be a healthy Nation, instead of the undernourished and obese kids and adults that President Obama worries so much about us becoming.
So what was President Obama doing when he appointed Michael Taylor, a former VP of Monsanto, as Sr. Advisor to the Commissioner at the FDA? The FDA is responsible for “label requirements” and recently ruled under Michael Taylor’s time as FDA Food Czar that GMO products did not need to be labeled as such, even though national consumer groups loudly professed the public’s right to know what is genetically modified in the food system. Sadly to remember: President Obama promised in campaign speeches that he would “let folks know what foods are genetically modified.” These are the conflict of interests that lead to the 99% movement standing up for the family farmers.
Just look at the confusing headlines lately that revealed that mid-western farms of GM corn will be sprayed with 2,4-D toxins found in the deadly Agent Orange. Just refer to the previous lawsuits taken all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court by U.S. Veterans who tried to argue the dangers of Monsanto’s Agent Orange, and high rates of cancers in our soldiers who had to suffer the side effects from their wartime exposures in Vietnam.
In 1980 alone, when all this mess started with corporations wiping out the livelihoods of family farmers, the National Farm Medicine Center reported that 900 male farmers in the Upper Midwest committed suicide. That was nearly double the national average for white men. Even sadder is the fact that some of the farmers’ children also committed suicide. Studies show that when one generation of family farmers lose their farms, then the next generation usually can’t revive the family business and traditions later.
Jim Gerritsen, President of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, has pointed out that there are 5th and 6th generation family farmers being pushed off their farms today, and because of a “climate of fear” (from possible lawsuits from Monsanto), they can’t grow some of the food they want to grow.
These farmers are the ones who have been able to survive the changes over the past twenty years by choosing to go into the budding niche of organic farming. Now look at what they have to deal with while trying to grow successful businesses: Monsanto’s threats.
Even organic dairy farmers have had to suffer lawsuits ( from Monsanto) when they labeled their organic milk “non-BGH” referring to Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone used by conventional dairies.
Consumers want organic food, and they want America’s pure food source to stay protected in America. Made in America, organically, is the way of the future, and family farmers and seed businesses should be free to maintain their high standards for organic foods. They deserve protection from Big Agribusiness’ dangerous seeds trespassing on their croplands, not to mention the use of pesticides and herbicides on GM crops. The organic industry has an “organic seal” which is also important to the success of family businesses, and even that stamp of quality is threatened by the spread of Monsanto’s GM seed contaminating their pure seed banks.
The Banking industry is also partly to blame. Years before the mortgages and home fiasco we have now, the farmers were the first to feel the squeeze. I interviewed Willie Nelson in the 1980’s, and he mentioned even then the high rates of farmer suicides, and that Farm Aid was receiving letters from family farmers saying the banks had “called in their loans”, even though “we had never missed a payment”. Was this just a veiled land grab for fertile lands, or to intentionally bankrupt independent family farmers?
It was so inspiring years ago when Michelle Obama planted an organic garden at the White House. It was a great precedent for the future, but what happened? It was ruined when they discovered sewer sludge from previous Administrations had contaminated their beautiful soil where the organic vegetables were planted. Just one small upset but it was remedied for future plantings. What about our whole country’s organic food supply being contaminated by previous Adminstrations’ bad choices? Why did they ever allow Monsanto to introduce genetically engineered seeds into our pure, organic, and heirloom stockpiles across America in the first place?
Recently, the Obama Administration, in an effort to boost food exports, signed joint agreements with agricultural biotechnology industry giants, including Monsanto, to remove the last barriers for the spread of more genetically modified crops.
But in this recent lawsuit filed by the Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, it was argued that a previous contamination of a “genetically engineered variety of rice”, named Liberty Link 601, in 2006, before it was approved for human consumption, “extensively contaminated the commercial rice supply, resulting in multiple countries banning the import of U.S. rice.” The worldwide economic loss was “upward to $1.285 billion dollars” due to the presence of GMOs…
What are everyday Americans going to do to turn it around, to get rid of Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds and its dangerous threat to America’s heirloom and organic seed caches?
There is high rate of cancer in America, and eating healthier, especially organic foods, has been shown to have great benefits in beating cancer and other diseases. When we have Agribusiness threatening independent family farmers, which leads to the farmers feeling so scared that they don’t even plant their organic crops that Americans need, then perhaps we can all see what the 99% Occupy Movement is trying to say about their conflict of interest and seemingly abuse of powers.
Willie Nelson just released a new poem on You Tube: “We stand with Humanity, against the Insanity, We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for… We’re the Seeds and we’re the Core, We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for; We’re the ones with the 99%.”
Monsanto’s practices are a clear example of the wrong direction that the 99% want our country to go in. How about shining some light on Monsanto, and before it is too late, realize the dangers of genetically modified seeds which are contaminating the world’s food supply.
“Crazy, crazy for feeling so…… 99% .ABOUT Jane Ayers
From Nation of Change re Monsanto:
“The USDA instead continues to not only go against public interest, but recklessly endanger the public with unacceptable and outright ludicrous policies that threaten your health on a routine basis.”
Despite being tasked to defend public health, the USDA instead continues to not only go against public interest, but recklessly endanger the public with unacceptable and outright ludicrous policies that threaten your health on a routine basis. Perhaps most compelling is the fact that not only does the USDA allow for the widespread use of GMO crops, which have been pinpointed by scientific research as harmful to your health, but the USDA has now announced that they will be extraditing the approval process for these genetically modified creations.
What’s more, the organization actually said that one major hurdle they had to face when speeding up the regulation process — which cuts the regulatory time period in which GMO crops are studied for safety in half — was public interest. Does this sound like an organization that actually cares about your health? Here are 4 proofs that the USDA cares more about securing corporate profits than your health.1. USDA Chooses Monsanto Sales Over Public Safety
Could it be possible that the USDA is actually turning a blind eye to the known adverse effects of Monsanto’s GMO crops, such as organ damage, in order to secure Monsanto’s growth and subsequent sales? In the original Bloomberg report announcing that the USDA was giving a ‘special’ speed review for Monsanto’s future crops, experts explained that the move was to secure the financial future of Monsanto — not to help farmers, citizens, or the United States.
Steve Censky, chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, states it quite plainly. This is a move to help Monsanto and other biotechnology giants get an edge over competition.
“It is a concern from a competition standpoint,” Censky said in a telephone interview.The same statements are re-iterated by analyst Jeff Windau in the same interview:“If you can reduce the approval time, you get sales that much faster,” said WindauIf you can reduce the approval time, then you can get sales much faster – an act of sacrificing legitimate safety measures for corporate gain.2. USDA Ignores Pesticide Suspect in Dwindling Bee Population
Bees are at the core of our agricultural system, so with the news that they are dying off quite quickly, you would think that the USDA would do everything in its power to get to the root of the problem. This, of course, is not the case. While there have been a number of theories behind the downfall of the bee population, one leaked document revealed that a bee-killing pesticide put in use by the EPA may be to blame. Further records show that the USDA was fully aware of this fact, and just let it happen.
Amazingly, the USDA also knew the pesticide was a threat to human health. Still, they did nothing.3. Mutant Insects? No Way, Monsanto’s GMO Corn is Perfectly Safe
Mutant insects don’t seem to bother the USDA either. Despite reports — including one by the EPA — that Monsanto’s Bt crops are spawning heavily resistant ‘mutated’ insects, the USDA continues to allow these crops on your dinner table. Bt is a ‘biopesticide‘ toxin incorporated into genetically modified crops in order to kill different insects, though it is highly ineffective. At least 8 populations of insects have developed resistance, with 2 populations resistant to Bt sprays and at least 6 species resistant to Bt crops as a whole.
As a result, significantly more pesticides must be used to make up for the failed GMO crops.4. USDA Approves New Monsanto Corn Despite 45,000 Comments in Opposition
In a move that really shows that the USDA doesn’t care about what you have to say (the very individuals the organization was created to work for), the organization recently approved Monsanto’s ‘drought tolerant’ genetically engineered corn despite massive opposition. They gave the green light to Monsanto despite receiving nearly 45,000 public comments voicing opposition and only 23 comments in favor since comments opened.
From Nation of Change:
“Linked to breast cancer in over 130 studies as well as diabetes, hardening of the arteries, and depression, BPA is comprising the health of many.”
After their products were confirmed to have some of the highest BPA levels among canned foods tested in independent research, consumers have been calling upon Campbell’s to stop using bisphenol A (BPA) in their popular canned soups. Linked to breast cancer in over 130 studies as well as diabetes, hardening of the arteries, and depression, BPA is comprising the health of many. Despite this scientific evidence, Campbell’s and some stubborn public health organizations still continue to assert that BPA is completely safety. Nonetheless, the company is making the move in response to the powerful concerns raised by consumers and health advocates alike, representing a major victory and highlighting the power of vital health activism.
The news comes just after it was announced that the FDA may soon ban the usage of BPA within the United States. With the final decision coming by March 31, the agency said that it is actually considering a ban on BPA usage in all food packaging. It is not yet certain if the FDA will follow through with the decision, as it took the organization 41 months to even respond to the original petition calling for the ban. In fact, the FDA says that the potential U.S. ban of BPA originally dates back to a 2008 lawsuit filed against the FDA by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
After not answering for an absurd number of months despite regulations requiring the agency to respond after a 180 day maximum time period, court intervention brought upon by the NRDC has finally forced the agency to answer. Now, the final notice will be known at the end of the month. The report comes at a time where many nations are taking action against BPA, with France banning the use of BPA in all food packaging back in February.
Many other countries besides France have already taken direct action against BPA to protect the health of citizens:• The European Union, Turkey, and other nations banned BPA from baby bottles as far back as 2008.
Campbell’s removing BPA from their products is a result of real activism, protecting the consumer in the absence of FDA action through grassroots initiatives. With BPA being removed from the industry, it is now time to target mercury-filled high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and genetically modified foods.
From Nation of Change re Monsanto:
“The evidence that Monsanto’s biopesticide and Roundup alike are disrupting both nature and human safety is clear, yet little is being done about it.”
Monsanto’s ‘biopesticide’ known as Bt is not only developing mutated insects and requiring excessive pesticide use, but new findings show that it is also killing human kidney cells — even in low doses. Amazingly, Monsanto’s superweed-breeding Roundup also has the same effect. Scientists have demonstrated in new research that the Bt pesticide, in addition to Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, exhibit direct toxicity to human cells. The findings add to the long list of hazardous effects presented by Monsanto’s genetically modified creations.
These dangerous Bt crops currently engulf 39% of globally cultivated GMO crops, and Monsanto does not seem to be slowing down on their campaign to expand usage. Led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a French scientist from the University of Caen, Séralini and his team are no strangers to the toxic effects of both Bt and glyphosate — the main component used in Roundup. Previously, Séralini and a group of other scientists found that Roundup is linked to infertility, killing testicular cells in rats. The report stated that within 1 to 48 hours of exposure, testicular cells of the mature rats were either damaged or killed.
At only 100 parts per million (ppm), Monsanto’s biopesticide lead to cell death. Furthermore, they found that Roundup at 57.2ppm killed half of the cell population – 200 times below agricultural use. This is concerning as researchers have previously detected Roundup in 41% of the 140 groundwater samples taken from Catalonia Spain that were actually above the limit of quantification. Even in very small doses, the research indicates that Roundup appears to be assaulting your biology.
It has also been divulged that Roundup is damaging other life outside of humans, shown to decrease the population of monarch butterflies by killing the very plants that the butterflies rely on for habitat and food. A 2011 study published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity found that increasing usage of genetically modified Roundup Ready corn and soybeans is significantly contributing to the decline in monarch butterfly populations within North America due to the destruction of milkweed.
The evidence that Monsanto’s biopesticide and Roundup alike are disrupting both nature and human safety is clear, yet little is being done about it. Even the EPA is being bombarded with calls to action, with 22 academic corn experts now warning the EPA that GMO crops are devastating the future of agricultural production. When will corporate giant Monsanto be held accountable for the devastation of their creations?
From Nation of Change re Monsanto:
Article from Nation of Change:
The popular legislative bill requiring mandatory labels on genetically engineered food (H-722) is languishing in the Vermont House Agriculture Committee, with only four weeks left until the legislature adjourns for the year.
The world’s most hated corporation is at it again, this time in Vermont.
Despite overwhelming public support and support from a clear majority of Vermont’s Agriculture Committee, Vermont legislators are dragging their feet on a proposed GMO labeling bill. Why? Because Monsanto has threatened to sue the state if the bill passes.
The popular legislative bill requiring mandatory labels on genetically engineered food (H-722) is languishing in the Vermont House Agriculture Committee, with only four weeks left until the legislature adjourns for the year. Despite thousands of emails and calls from constituents who overwhelmingly support mandatory labeling, despite the fact that a majority (6 to 5) of Agriculture Committee members support passage of the measure, Vermont legislators are holding up the labeling bill and refusing to take a vote.
Instead, they’re calling for more public hearings on April 12, in the apparent hope that they can run out the clock until the legislative session ends in early May.
What happened to the formerly staunch legislative champions of Vermont’s “right to know” bill? They lost their nerve and abandoned their principles after Monsanto representative recently threatened a public official that the biotech giant would sue Vermont if they dared to pass the bill. Several legislators have rather unconvincingly argued that the Vermont public has a “low appetite” for any bills, even very popular bills like this one, that might end up in court. Others expressed concern about Vermont being the first state to pass a mandatory GMO labeling bill and then having to “go it alone” against Monsanto in court.
What it really comes down to this: Elected officials are abandoning the public interest and public will in the face of corporate intimidation.
Monsanto has used lawsuits or threats of lawsuits for 20 years to force unlabeled genetically engineered foods on the public, and to intimidate farmers into buying their genetically engineered seeds and hormones. When Vermont became the first state in the nation in 1994 to require mandatory labels on milk and dairy products derived from cows injected with the controversial genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone, Monsanto’s minions sued in Federal Court and won on a judge’s decision that dairy corporations have the first amendment “right” to remain silent on whether or not they are injecting their cows with rBGH - even though rBGH has been linked to severe health damage in cows and increased cancer risk for humans, and is banned in much of the industrialized world, including Europe and Canada.
Monsanto wields tremendous influence in Washington, DC and most state capitals. The company’s stranglehold over politicians and regulatory officials is what has prompted activists in California to bypass the legislature and collect 850,000 signatures to place a citizens’ Initiative on the ballot in November 2012. The 2012 California Right to Know Act will force mandatory labeling of GMOs and to ban the routine practice of labeling GMO-tainted food as “natural.”
All of Monsanto’s fear mongering and intimidation tactics were blatantly on display in the House Agriculture Committee hearings March 15-16.
During the hearings the Vermont legislature was deluged with calls, letters, and e-mails urging passage of a GMO labeling bill - more than on any other bill since the fight over Civil Unions in 1999-2000. The legislature heard from pro-labeling witnesses such as Dr. Michael Hansen, an expert on genetic engineering from the Consumers Union, who shredded industry claims that GMO’s are safe and that consumers don’t need to know if their food is contaminated with them.
On the other side of the fence, Monsanto’s lobbyist, and Vermont mouthpiece, Margaret Laggis employed inaccurate, unsubstantiated, fear-mongering claims to make Monsanto’s case. She warned during the hearings that if this law were passed, there would not be enough corn, canola, and soybean seed for Vermont farmers to plant.
Laggis lied when she said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had done exhaustive feeding tests on genetically modified foods. Hansen corrected her, testifying that all of the GMO feeding tests submitted to the FDA were conducted by Monsanto and other GMO corporations and that the FDA had not done any GMO testing of its own.
Laggis lied again when she claimed that a recent Canadian study showing that more than 90% pregnant women had high levels of a genetically modified bacterial pesticide in their blood resulted from them “eating too much organic food” during pregnancy. Again, Hansen refuted this nonsense by pointing out that the Bacillus thuingensis (Bt) bacterium spray used by organic growers is chemically and materially different from the GMO Bt bacterium, which showed up in the pregnant women’s blood and the umbilical cords of their fetuses. Hanson pointed that the high levels of Monsanto’s mutant Bt in the women’s blood was due to the widespread cultivation of GMO corn, cotton, soy, and canola.
The committee heard testimony that European Union studies have been conducted which showed that even short-term feeding studies of GMO crops caused 43.5% of male test animals to suffer kidney abnormalities, and 30.8% of female test animals to suffer liver abnormalities. Studies also have shown that the intestinal lining of animals fed GMO food was thickened compared to the control animals. All of these short-term results could become chronic, and thus precursors to cancer.
Studies like these have prompted 50 nations around the world to pass laws requiring mandatory labels on GMO right foods.
In the end, none of the scientific testimony mattered. Monsanto operatives simply reverted to their usual tactics: They openly threatened to sue the state.
Unfortunately in the US, industry and the government continue to side with Monsanto rather than the 90% of consumers who support labeling. Monsanto’s biotech bullying is a classic example of how the 1% control the rest of us, even in Vermont, generally acknowledged as the most progressive state in the nation.
Vermont activists are organizing a protest at the state capital on April 12 to coincide with the next round of hearings on H-722, and are asking residents to write letters, make calls, and e-mail their legislators and the Governor. For more information, please go to the website
Vermont Right to Know Campaign.
Article from Nation of Change:
“Nations are continually taking a stand against Monsanto, with nations like Hungary destroying 1000 acres of GM maize and India slamming Monsanto with ‘biopiracy‘ charges.”
Following the anti-Monsanto activism launched by nations like France and Hungary, Poland has announced that it will launch a complete ban on growing Monsanto’s genetically modified strain MON810. The announcement, made by Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki, sets yet another international standard against Monsanto’s genetically modified creations. In addition to being linked to a plethora health ailments, Sawicki says that the pollen originating from this GM strain may actually be devastating the already dwindling bee population.
“The decree is in the works. It introduces a complete ban on the MON810 strain of maize in Poland,” Sawicki stated to the press.
Similar opposition to Monsanto occurred on March 9th, when 7 European countries blocked a proposal by the Danish EU presidency which would permit the cultivation of genetically modified plants on the entire continent. It was France, who in February, lead the charge against GMOs by asking the European Commission to suspend authorization to Monsanto’s genetically modified corn. What’s more, the country settled a landmark case in favor of the people over Monsanto, finding the biotech giant guilty of chemical poisoning.
In a ruling given by a court in Lyon (southeast France), grain grower Paul Francois stated that Monsanto failed to provide proper warnings on the Lasso weedkiller product label which resulted in neurological problems such as memory loss and headaches. The court ordered an expert opinion to determine the sum of the damages, and to verify the link between Lasso and the reported illnesses. The result was a guilty charge, paving the way for further legal action on behalf of injured farmers.
Since 1996, the agricultural branch of the French social security system has gathered about 200 alerts per year regarding sickness related to pesticides. However only 47 cases were even recognized in the past 10 years.
Nations are continually taking a stand against Monsanto, with nations like Hungary destroying 1000 acres of GM maize and India slamming Monsanto with ‘biopiracy‘ charges.
Useful links to find out more about Genetically Modified Food and Related IssuesEarthscan\James & James Publishers
GREENPEACE SITE RELATING TO FOOD:
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV (GLTH) Asylum Seekers - Part 1
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV (GLTH) Asylum Seekers - Part 2
Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, HIV (GLTH) Asylum Seekers - Part 3
Mannie De Saxe also has a personal web site, which may be found by clicking on the link: RED JOS HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM
Mannie's blogs may be accessed by clicking on to the following links:
MannieBlog (from 1 August 2003 to 31 December 2005)
Activist Kicks Backs - Blognow archive re-housed - 2005-2009
RED JOS BLOGSPOT (from January 2009 onwards)
This page updated 25 APRIL 2014 and again on 23 NOVEMBER 2016