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Sunday, November 29, 2015

EPA Withdraws Approval of New Weed Killer for Genetically Engineered Crops

New information from manufacturer Dow AgroSciences indicates the chemical is probably more toxic to other plants than previously thought.

BY ANDREW TAYLORTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS This screen image from a Dow video purports to show a weed sprayed with Enlist Duo surrounded by a flourishing crop of soybeans. The new chemical is a combination of glysophate and an older weed killer called 2,4-D.

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday withdrew approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans.

The EPA announced the decision after receiving new information from manufacturer Dow AgroSciences that a weed killer called Enlist Duo is probably more toxic to other plants than previously thought.

It was originally approved a year ago and is designed to be used with new strains of genetically modified corn and soybeans. The agency says it needs to study whether wider buffer zones will be required to protect non-target plants.

The seeds are engineered to resist the herbicide, so farmers can spray the fields after the plants emerge and kill the weeds while leaving crops unharmed.

EPA’s move was welcomed by environmental and food safety groups that had sued to rescind approval of the potent new herbicide. But it is sure to create anxiety for the agriculture industry, since many weeds have become resistant to glyphosate, an herbicide commonly used on genetically modified corn and soybeans now. Enlist includes a combination of glyphosate and an updated version of an older herbicide named 2,4-D.

“With this action, EPA confirms the toxic nature of this lethal cocktail of chemicals, and has stepped back from the brink,” said Earthjustice Managing Attorney Paul Achitoff. “Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen and is wiping out the monarch butterfly, 2,4-D also causes serious human health effects, and the combination also threatens endangered wildlife. This must not, and will not, be how we grow our food.”

Dow AgroSciences issued a statement calling for rapid resolution of the matter, citing “the pressing needs of U.S. farmers for access to Enlist Duo to counter the rapidly increasing spread of resistant weeds” and predicting that “these new evaluations will result in a prompt resolution of all outstanding issues.”

EPA’s decision means that Enlist Duo, which is currently on the market, won’t be in wide use for plantings next spring. EPA hasn’t said whether farmers already in possession of the herbicide will be able to use it, and that could be a topic for future litigation, said Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety.

Critics say they’re concerned the increased use of 2,4-D could endanger public health and more study on the chemical is needed. The USDA has predicted that the use of 2,4-D could increase by an estimated 200 percent to 600 percent by the year 2020.

EPA had earlier said when approving the new weed killer that agency officials had used “highly conservative and protective assumptions to evaluate human health and ecological risks.” The EPA said at the time that the herbicide met safety standards for the public, agricultural workers and endangered species.

Now, EPA says it has “has received new information from Dow AgroSciences — the registrant of Enlist Duo — that suggests two active ingredients could result in greater toxicity to non-target plants.”

2,4-D is now used on other crops, including wheat, and on pastures and home lawns. It is the world’s most popular herbicide and the third most popular in the United States, behind atrazine and glyphosate.

Groups opposed to expanded use of 2,4-D’s say they are concerned about its toxic effects and the potential for it to drift. Corn and soybeans are the nation’s largest crops, and the potential for expanded use is huge. Critics also expressed concern that weeds eventually would become resistant to the combination herbicide as they have to glyphosate, something EPA had planned to revisit.

EPA had earlier required a 30-foot buffer zone where the herbicide couldn’t be sprayed and ordered farmers to stop spraying when wind speeds exceeded 15 miles an hour.

EPA had approved Enlist Duo for use in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and was likely to OK it for other states.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Why GMOs are a disaster in the making

FDA Approves Experimental GMO Salmon for Human Consumption Despite Lack of Adequate Safety Studies


Friday, November 20, 2015 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer


(NaturalNews) Just as we predicted, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has brazenly betrayed the public's trust by approving the world's first genetically modified (GM) animal in direct defiance of science – a transgenic salmon branded "AquAdvantage" that has never been proven safe for human consumption or the natural environment.

The New York Times (NYT) reports that AquAdvantage, a product of AquaBounty Technologies, has received official FDA approval after years of fierce lobbying by its manufacturer in favor of open approval. Despite repeated warnings from detractors that AquAdvantage poses serious threats to aquatic ecosystems and humans, the FDA has determined that this GM fish is completely safe for everything and everyone on the planet.

Many of the claims made about AquAdvantage by its manufacturer have been debunked, including the lie that this "Frankenfish" grows more quickly than natural salmon and is less prone to disease – both of which claims are patently false. 

AquAdvantage was also said to pose no threats to aquatic environments because it is supposedly sterile, but this, too, has been called into question by independent scientific review.

The FDA has repeatedly ignored all petitions from consumer watchdog groups to take a closer and more unbiased look at GM salmon to determine its true safety, including whether or not it is even needed. Consumers have overwhelmingly indicated that they don't want to eat this or any other GM animal, yet the FDA now plans to allow its entrance into the food supply – unlabeled, of course.

"This unfortunate, historic decision disregards the vast majority of consumers, many independent scientists, numerous members of Congress and salmon growers around the world, who have voiced strong opposition," voiced Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Food and Water Watch (FWW), in a recent statement.


Consumer group to file lawsuit against rogue FDA over GM salmon approvalApproval for AquAdvantage has been a long time coming, as AquaBounty petitioned for the FDA's blessing on its phony fish as far back as the 1990s. Five years ago, the FDA granted a type of preliminary approval for AquAdvantage, but the fish never entered the market due to what many believe was the federal government's fear of public backlash.

But the FDA's decision to grant quiet approval for this GM salmon amidst media distraction aimed at global terrorism and war in the Middle East isn't necessarily going as smoothly as planned. The Center for Food Safety (CFS), which has long opposed approval for AquAdvantage on the basis of science, warned within hours of the FDA's approval that it plans to file a lawsuit against the agency.

"The fallout from this decision will have enormous impact on the environment," lamented Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of CFS, in a recent press release. "Center for Food Safety has no choice but to file suit to stop the introduction of this dangerous contaminant. FDA has neglected its responsibility to protect the public."

Not only have millions of Americans voiced their opposition to GM salmon over the past several years – with no acknowledgment from the FDA – but so have at least 40 members of Congress and more than 300 environmental groups that work on behalf of consumers, animals, fisheries, food companies and restaurants.

"The review process by FDA was inadequate, failed to fully examine the likely impacts of the salmon's introduction, and lacked a comprehensive analysis," Kimbrell added. "This decision sets a dangerous precedent, lowering the standards of safety in this country. CFS will hold FDA to their obligations to the American people."

Sources for this article include:

NYTimes.com

NaturalNews.com

CenterforFoodSafety.org

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Monsanto's Coming Genetic Armageddon Documented in Shocking Investigative Report

Thursday, November 19, 2015 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) What you're about to read will probably shock you to your core. We're all familiar with genetically modified organisms in food, and we've even heard talks about genetically modified animals coming down the pipeline. But are you aware of the fact that the U.S. government is right now usingyour tax dollars to fund research into genetically modified humans?

A special investigative report bySkyWatchTV uncovers a heinous conspiracy by those entrusted with protecting our freedom and liberty to literally reengineer the human race using many of the same methods commonly used to reengineer food and plant life in the lab. And it's all happening under the radar with little to no fanfare in the mainstream media.

A short preview of this report on YouTube exposes what the show's hosts refer to as the coming "genetic Armageddon" – the complete undoing of creation as we know it for the purpose of enriching powerful and greedy corporations. And in the process, humanity will be reconstructed as well, presumably to be more compliant and less resistant to tyranny.

"I'm not sure that the world is ready to receive this," says investigative reporter Tom Horn. "We're talking about everything from the food that we eat, to animals, to ultimately humans – literally what we have been doing with genetically modified crops, what we have and are doing with transgenically made animals, we fully intend to do with the human race."

You can watch a preview for the show here:


Congressman, scientist says U.S. government developing blueprints for artificially engineered human race

The goal all along, the report suggests, has not been to enhance humanity through biotechnology, but to replace it. And U.S. Representative Bill Foster (D-Ill.), the last scientist in Congress, warned in a testimony before Congress and in a piece for The Hillthat the U.S. government has already instructed top-level researchers to begin laying the groundwork for what will eventually become a genetically engineered human race to replace the one we currently have.

"Right now, the top science departments in our government that dole out taxpayer funded revenue have already been ordered to literally create the guidelines that are going to be used for genetically modifying the human race," Horn adds in a trailer for the series.

Conventional pet food loaded with putrid meat byproducts and dead animals

The series also captures some of the horrors of the processed food industry, particularly pet food products sold conventionally at grocery and pet stores nationwide. An undercover investigation by Horn and his colleagues revealed that many dried pet foods contain the remnants of diseased animals, not to mention the remains of euthanized pets.

Some shelters literally "recycle" euthanized animals by selling them to pet food manufacturers, according to the report. And millions of Americans are feeding their pets this noxious waste day in and day out, unaware of the true contents of their favorite brands of kibble and canned mush.

It's all part of the plan, of course, to recreate humanity and creation into the image of the "beast" rather than God. And if non-engineered humanity doesn't stand up now to oppose this apocalyptic freak show, it will soon be too late and we'll all be extinct – save an act of God that somehow puts a stop to the madness.

"If Christians are to help shape contemporary culture—particularly in a setting in which I fear the posthuman message will prove attractive, if not seductive—then they must offer an alternative and compelling vision; a counter theological discourse so to speak," explains Horn in a pre-release to the documentary.

Sources for this article include:

YouTube.com

SkyWatchTV.com

Moms Across America - Empowered Moms, Healthy Kids

Concerned Americans Urge White House to Overhaul GMO Regulations by the Thousands

Over 130,000 people call for more rigorous oversight and labeling.

Nov. 16, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Late Friday, over 130,000 individuals, along with leading environmental, food safety, and farmer groups, submitted comments calling for an overhaul of the U.S. government system regulating genetically engineered (GE) plants and animals. 

Known as the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology, the existing guidelines were put together in 1986, prior to commercialization of GE crops, by combining an array of preexisting, non-binding regulatory statutes. As such, the Framework has failed to prevent numerous economic and environmental harms resulting from GE crops and the pesticides designed to accompany them—and has exposed consumers and growers to unlabeled, untested products. 

In July, the Obama Administration called for a review of the Framework, opening up a series of public comment periods.

The public comments echo several common principles, including:

• Mandatory, GE-specific regulation

• Protections related to increased pesticide use

• Protection of non-GE farmers

• Mandatory safety testing

• Mandatory labeling of GE foods

The following statements reflect the sentiments of the public:

“To this point, U.S. regulation of genetically engineered (GE) organisms has been an unmitigated failure. In sharp contrast with much of the rest of the world, the U.S. has prioritized the rapid commercialization of genetically engineered organisms over core governmental duties, such as protection of public health, the environment and the interests of agriculture. This negligence must end,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney at Center for Food Safety.

“U.S. rules meant to oversee genetically engineered crops are not only failing, but threatening farmers and communities across the country. Over the past twenty years, the unchecked expansion of genetically engineered crops has led to hundreds of millions of additional pounds of pesticides that wind up in our air and water, as farmers remain trapped on an ever-accelerating pesticide treadmill,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist at Pesticide Action Network.

Jim Goodman, a Wisconsin beef and dairy farmer, noted, "Forced public acceptance and rapid commercialization of GE organisms has been the clear priority of all branches of the government, publicly funded universities and the agricultural industry. 

Working hand-in-hand they have succeeded in making any meaningful regulation of GE organisms, for all practical purposes, a joke."

“The Consolidated Framework must be significantly overhauled to require that all GE organisms—including those produced with the newer techniques of GE, such as RNA interference or the gene-editing technologies—to go through a systematic safety assessment process which recognizes the potential novel risk of such GE organisms, prior to being released onto the market,” said Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union.

“Mandatory safety and environmental assessments are critical before engineered organisms leave the lab and end up on our plates or in the environment,” said Dana Perls, food and technology campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “Broken GMO regulations must be overhauled to put the health of people and the environment ahead of chemical and agribusiness interests. 

The new regulations must also address rapidly changing genetic engineering techniques, such as synthetic biology, that are entering the market and environment ahead of our ability to ensure their safety.”

“The Coordinated Framework is not equipped to handle the risks associated with GE foods already on the market, let alone what’s coming down the pike,” said executive director of Food & Water Watch, Wenonah Hauter. 

“New GE organisms like algae and insects could slip through the cracks of our current regulatory system. Without a massive overhaul of the process, new and risky GE plants and animals will enter the marketplace without anyone understanding or tracking their impacts on human safety and the environment.”

"The U.S. should enact the same common-sense regulations that protect consumers, farmers and the environment in other countries: safety-testing, labels and restrictions on how and where GMO crops may be grown," said Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq., political director at Organic Consumers Association.

"The current regulatory system fails to take into account the environmental impact and externalities of genetically engineered crops and animals," said Todd Larsen, executive co-director, Green America. 

"It is high time that the USDA implement a system that truly addresses the long-term environmental and human health impacts of the growth and consumption of GE crops."

“Current regulations on genetically engineered foods are hopelessly outdated,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!

“Since the 1980s, when these rules were originally written, scientists have discovered numerous modern scientific techniques that have properly identified the real risks that these novel gene proteins pose to human health and the environment. 

The American public deserves updated regulations that include proper safety testing standards and mandatory labeling of GMOs to provide basic transparency in the marketplace.”

Signatures were collected and submitted to the docket by the following organizations: Center for Food Safety, Food Democracy Now!, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth U.S., Green America, Organic Consumers Association, and Pesticide Action Network North America.

Contact:

Abigail Seiler, Center for Food Safety, 202-547-9359, aseiler@centerforfoodsafety.org

Sara Knight, Pesticide Action Network, 415-625-9070, sara@panna.org

Kate Colwell, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0744, kcolwell@foe.org

Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, 202-683-4905, kfried@fwwatch.org

Say No To Biological Colonialism

Nov. 18, 2015 by the Hans India

    The manner in which the Centre is going about allowing genetically modified (GM) food crops is causing serious concern. Five years after the UPA bowed to public pressure and imposed an indefinite moratorium on the commercial cropping of Bt Brinjal, the NDA government is hastening the advent of GM food crops.

An application for approval for commercialisation of GM Mustard has been moved with the apex regulatory body GEAC (Genetic Engineering Approval Committee) in the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change. 

Without putting in place any mechanism for stringent tests, GM Mustard developed by Delhi University called Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11 (DMH11) is being considered for approval.

Mustard has a significant use in Indian cuisine and unless fears of potentially adverse consequences to the environment, animals and human beings are addressed, it should not be introduced.

The GM crops are said to produce higher yields and great protection against diseases. But, farmers would have to procure seeds patented by companies for each crop as has been in the case of Bt Cotton.

Earlier, a Supreme Court order in 2008 called for putting bio-safety data in the public domain for scrutiny and the Technical Expert Committee of the Supreme Court in 2013 raised strong questions about the GEAC conclusions on safety of GM crops. 

Even WHO insists on countries going for GM field trials to assert for themselves direct health effects of GM crops such as toxicity, allergic reactions, stability of the inserted gene, nutritional effects; and any unintended effects on environment from gene insertion.

Terminator technology used in GM crops is also illegal as per India’s Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act, 2001. It is also banned by the UN Convention of Biodiversity. Barring US and a few countries, European Parliament, Russia, China and dozens of nations have banned GMO.

GM proponents cite hunger deaths, low crop yields, agri crisis etc in India as reasons enough for allowing GM crops. The cost effective agro-ecological approaches, better agronomic practices including production-enhancing techniques should have been exhausted before permitting GM varieties.

GM proponents would not talk about dramatic rise in the use of insecticides and pesticides in the US in recent years despite GM crops, or why Bt Cotton is not so successful in rainfed areas as in irrigated areas in India. In contrast, those practising organic farming have neither crop yield or demand concerns or pest fears.

Bio-safety and bio-diversity should not be compromised in any manner. Hence it is necessary that stringent tests are resorted to and an independent body should make an assessment. 

All the information regarding the safety tests of the GM Mustard must be put in the public domain without which no approval should be granted. 

There is a need to revisit and review the entire experience of Bt Cotton before going into introduction of any other crop, especially genetically modified food crops. India-specific soil conditions, cropping patterns, agronomic conditions, nature of land holdings, etc., need to be considered while developing sustainable biotechnology solutions. No biological colonialism, please!

Editor: Prof K Nageshwar

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Christie Brinkley on GMOS: ‘We’re Guinea Pigs’

By Jade Scipioni, November 17, 2015

She’s graced the cover of more than 500 magazines, and now, 40 years later, supermodel Christie Brinkley is back in the spotlight with a new book called “Timeless Beauty.”

Brinkley wrote the lifestyle book to share her beauty secrets on looking good at the age of 61 and also to inspire people to get healthier, especially with the foods they eat.

“I think there are so many issues with our food industry that are blatantly disrespectful to our planet and us as individuals,” Brinkley tells FOXBusiness.com.

She says the most alarming part is the fact that genetically modified crops are affecting our insect population.

“The bees are suffering right now and without the bees—well, Einstein said when the bees go, the next thing that goes are people,” she says. “What I don’t like about GMOs is that we’re the guinea pigs. The testing—if there’s testing—we’re the ones doing the testing and that is not fair and furthermore it’s not labelled so we don’t know if we’re the ones eating them.”

Europe’s Rejection of GMOs Ignites Eco-Farming Revolution

Timothy Eden, November 16, 2015 12:24 pm
Despite years of pressure and efforts by the European Union political elite in favor of genetically engineered (GE) crops, European citizens and national governments from a broad range of political backgrounds have won a major victory: 17 European countries and four European regions have chosen to ban GE crops. For those in the rest of the world who are fighting large-scale industrial and chemical agriculture—and the GE crops that abet it—this victory gives hope. Now they see hope for equitable and sustainable solutions such as ecological farming.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Monsanto Accused of Knowingly Polluting SF Bay with Toxic PCBs

Oakland city attorney says the chemical giant 'chose profits over people, and American cities and citizens are still suffering the consequences.'
by


Lauren McCauley, Staff Writer, Nov. 10, 2015

"The company that is responsible for this vast contamination should bear the burden of cleaning up our environment," said Oakland city attorney Barbara Parker. (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/cc/flickr)
"The company that is responsible for this vast contamination should bear the burden of cleaning up our environment," said Oakland city attorney Barbara Parker. (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/cc/flickr)

Targeting the chemical giant which for decades allegedly polluted the San Francisco Bay with a highly toxic environmental contaminant, the city of Oakland on Tuesday filed suit against Monsanto.

In a press 
statement announcing the suit, Oakland city attorney Barbara Parker accused Monsanto of concealing information on the dangers of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCBs), long before they were banned by U.S. Congress. Parker charges that despite this knowledge, Monsanto continued to produce and distribute these compounds, thus destroying marine ecosystems and threatening human health.

"Monsanto knew that PCBs were toxic and could not be contained as they readily escaped into the environment, finding their way into bays, oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, soil and air," the statement charges. "Although evidence confirms that Monsanto recognized that PCBs were becoming 'a global contaminant,' well before the 1979 ban, it concealed this information and increased production of these profitable compounds."

Banned by Congress in 1979 and later by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001, PCBs are a common environmental contaminant associated with illnesses including cancer and are often found in the tissues of marine life, animals, and humans. According to a watchdog report (pdf), Monsanto was responsible for 99 percent of U.S. production of PCBs, commonly found in a variety of products and applications including power transformers, electrical equipment, paints, caulks, and other building materials.

California's Water Resources Control Board has determined that the presence of PCBs in Oakland's storm water system threatens San Francisco Bay and has issued a tentative order calling for the city to stymie this flow—at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

"The company that is responsible for this vast contamination should bear the burden of cleaning up our environment, not the taxpayers of Oakland and California," Parker added. "Monsanto knew that its products posed a significant threat to human and environmental health around the world. However, the company chose profits over protecting people, and American cities and citizens are still suffering the consequences."

Oakland is one of a growing number of municipalities seeking reparations from Monsanto for its knowing distribution of this toxic compound. This summer a St. Louis County court ruled in favor of Monsanto in a similar case.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Most of the Glyphosate Sprayed in CA is Applied in Poor Areas

Published: November 9, 2015

SOURCE: Julie Fidler

The Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Environmental Health, El Quinto Sol de America, Californians for Pesticide Reform, the Center for Food Safety and the Pesticide Action Network released a report earlier this week that claims that more than half of the glyphosate sprayed in California is applied to the state’s 8 most impoverished counties. [1]

According to the report, the populations in these counties are predominantly Hispanic or Latino, which suggests that use of the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is distributed unequally along both socioeconomic and racial lines.

“We’ve uncovered a disturbing trend where poor and minority communities disproportionately live in regions where glyphosate is sprayed,” said Dr. Nathan Donley, a staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “In high doses glyphosate is dangerous to people, and California can’t, in good conscience, keep allowing these communities to pay the price for our overreliance on pesticides.”

In 2013, 54% percent of glyphosate used in California was applied in Tulare, Fresno, Merced, Del Norte, Madera, Lake, Imperial and Kern counties, according to the report, Lost in the Mist: “How Glyphosate Use Disproportionately Threatens California’s Most Impoverished Counties.”

The analysis lends support to a 2014 California Department of Public Health study that found that Hispanic children were 46% more likely to attend schools near harmful pesticide use than white children, and 91% more likely than white children to attend schools near the highest pesticide use. [2]

“The disproportionate concentration of glyphosate in our region is alarming and worrisome,” said Isabel Arrollo, executive director of El Quinto Sol de America, based in Tulare County. “It is imperative to protect the health of our communities, and any action to better protect health should not be dismissed as being premature. Health matters.”

“No one should be needlessly exposed to chemicals like glyphosate, that may cause cancer and other health problems,” said Caroline Cox, research director at the Center for Environmental Health. “It’s especially troubling that communities of color who are already at serious risk from chemicals in their environment are the most likely to suffer from exposures to this dangerous pesticide. The state must take the lead in protecting all Californians from glyphosate.”

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the chemical is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” California is currently toying with the idea of declaring the Roundup ingredient as a carcinogen.

Monsanto is fighting the proposed ruling. In October, the agribusiness giant officially submitted a comment to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), asking them to scrap the plan. [3]

Listing glyphosate as a cancer cause “has the potential to deny farmers and public agencies the use of this highly effective herbicide,” Monsanto said in its public filing. “Global regulatory authorities… agree that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.”

But according to the Centre for Research on Globalization, Sustainable Pulse recently uncovered documents from 1991 that show that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knew as far back as 1985 that glyphosate causes cancer. The committee went on to classify glyphosate as a Class C Carcinogen with “suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential.” [4]

In July, the International Agency for Research on Cancer issued a report which examined the latest research on glyphosate and concluded that it is definitely carcinogenic to animals in laboratory studies and that human exposure is linked to a higher risk of developing blood cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. [5]

An estimated 90% of all processed food contains glyphosate residues.

Sources:

[1] Center for Biological Diversity

[2] YubaNet

[3] Yahoo! News

[4] International Agency for Research on Cancer

[5] Environmental Working Group

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED AT NATURAL SOCIETY

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Shining Light on the DARK Act

November 4, 2015 by Carol Grieve'


   In July this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 1599, a bill we call the DARK Act (Denying American’s the Right to Know) because it would deny voters the right to pass state bills to label genetically engineered foods (GMOs) and make mandatory labeling at the federal level impossible. 


This bill, if passed in the Senate, would preempt all state labeling initiatives. Currently there are 3 states that have passed their labeling initiatives, including Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut. 

To date, over 70 GMO labeling bills have been introduced in 30 states. If the Dark Act passes in the Senate it will not only preempt all the state initiatives, it will allow food that is labeled “natural” to contain genetically modified ingredients. 

The bill will make the labeling of GMOs only voluntary and prevent any labeling at the National level. It not only preempts labels it prevents bans as well. HR 1599 also will reverse all the crop bans that are in place.


“H.R. 1599 would negate all of these laws, and more–according to the Center for Food Safety. The preemption language in the bill would nullify over a hundred local laws that, directly or indirectly, regulate genetically engineered crops–like GMO crop bans”


  Why is there so much lobbying and big money being spent to deny us the right to know? The four largest biotech, agrochemicals and pesticide companies, which includes Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Syngenta, and DuPont (the “Industry”) have a vested interest in keeping the public in the dark. 

They know that if there is a label on their products that says “contains genetically modified ingredients,” consumers, even consumers who are not fully educated about GMOs, would make a choice to buy a conventional or organic product, because there might be some inherent risk in buying a product that contains GMOs. 

Many consumers would make that choice because they would consider that risk and the fact that GMOs have no more nutritional value than conventional products and therefore choose the conventional or organic product.


“The Industry also knows that there will be a liability issue on down the road if they label their products containing GMOs, as the truth surfaces about the health risks associated with genetic engineering and their associated chemicals.”


The Industry and the Grocery Manufacturers Association and its members spent nearly $87 Million in 2013 and 2014 to fight GMO labeling initiatives. They were successful in convincing many consumers that the cost of labeling would greatly increase food prices–which has been debunked by Consumer Reports. 

Consumer Reports found that the median cost that might be passed on to consumers is just $2.30 per person annually, or $9.20 for a family of four. Does this sound like a great increase in food prices? 

Many companies routinely change their labels to update nutritional information or to market their products. Therefore, adding additional information to their labels would not be burdensome. 

Another argument that the Industry uses is that it would be too confusing to Americans? I don’t know about you, but this infuriates me as they are insinuating that we are too stupid to understand information on a label. 

Perhaps they want us to be dumbed-down? Currently, 64 countries require labeling of GMOs. In addition to labeling, 38 countries worldwide have officially banned the cultivation of GM crops. 

The picture painted by the biotech industry and the U.S. government that GM crops have been accepted by the majority of countries worldwide is therefore quite obviously wrong.


  This Industry uses powerful marketing and propaganda and have duped much of the American public into believing we need GMOs to feed the world. 

Here is why this is not true: More than 40 percent of all U.S. cropland is devoted to GMO crops. Yet even though nearly 80 percent of processed foods sold in the U.S. now contain GMOs, the majority of genetically engineered (GE) crops aren’t grown to feed humans. 

The bulk of today’s genetically engineered soybeans and corn in particular, are used to feed animals and generate biofuels. GMOs do not feed the world, they feed profit.


Americans consume 193 pounds of GMOs annually. The animals that provide us with nearly all the meat, poultry and dairy we eat are force fed genetically engineered crops that their bodies were never designed to process. 

Who’s getting healthy on GMOs? It is certainly not the American people, whose health has declined since GMOs were introduced into our food. 

It is not American farmers, whose numbers have declined since agribusiness has taken over our farmland. It is not the animals being pumped full of antibiotics to ward off illnesses associated with confinement and GMO feed. 

The only ones getting healthy are these four largest pesticide, agrochemical and biotech companies, Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Chemical, and Syngenta– whose sales have jumped from $60.1 billion in 2004 to $119.3 billion in 2012. This figure has further escalated since 2012.


The other great lie perpetuated by the biotech industry is that GMOs have never been proven unsafe. It’s hard to fathom when you listen to the representatives at the EPA and FDA talk about having no knowledge of any studies proving that GMOs are harmful to human health as they did during these hearings. 

There are many studies by independent scientists that have shown how GMOs and their associated pesticides are indeed harmful to human health, animals and the environment. Did you know that the FDA relies on the Industrys’ data regarding the safety of their own products?


On October 21, there was a hearing in the Senate on Agricultural Biotechnology which discussed GMO labeling. The food and biotech companies’ PR firms and lobbyists likely wrote most of the senators’ scripts, as they praised GMOs and spoke about how we need this technology to feed the world. 

They warned of the high cost of mandatory labeling which is greatly fabricated and spoke about the safety of GMOs which is an out-and-out lie! Our senators are supposed to represent the people, but this hearing was not about representing the people, it was about the corporations’ need to maintain their profits at the expense of the American people and their health.


What can you do? If you believe you have the right to know what is in your food no matter how you feel about GMOs, you can make a choice to let your voice be heard. You can contact your senators and ask them to vote “NO” on HR 1599 and to take a stand for labeling so that we are not kept in the dark. 

If we do not stand up for our rights and allow theses corporations to run our government, we will become a society that has given up on democracy and one that is controlled by these corporations. 

This is about everyone using their Constitutional right and demanding that their representatives represent the people’s will. Nearly 93% of people in this country think that GMOs should be labeled. The DARK act will be further discussed and decided upon by our Senators in the near future.


Click here for a legal analysis of the DARK Act–which clearly violates our First Amendment Right. The Industry is really hoping that you do not understand this Bill. Prove them wrong! Then, let your voice be heard! Call your Senators today at 202-224-3121.


As Margaret Mead said:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”


This blog post was partially funded by the Nut Milk Bag by Nutiana.com