April 24, 2014

Dangerous Pro-GMO Amendments May Be On Their Last Legs—If We Act Now!

farm subsidies 200x300 Dangerous Pro GMO Amendments May Be On Their Last Legs—If We Act Now!

by Alliance for Natural Health

Things are looking up, but it’s important that we keep up the pressure. Action Alert!

You may recall our recent reports on the two riders before Congress that the biotech industry was so excited to get inserted into important bills. The first was in the big House Ag Appropriations Bill, which controls the vast majority of spending on agricultural concerns. The amendment in question would strip federal courts of the authority to halt the sale and planting of illegal, potentially hazardous genetically engineered crops even while USDA is still assessing their hazards.

Last week, the House passed a six-month spending bill that will keep the lights on in government agencies until March 2013. Happily, the GMO rider in the Ag Appropriations Bill was not included in that spending bill. The Senate will probably get to their version of the Ag Appropriations Bill this week, wrapping up the spending bills for this Congress before heading out to campaign until the November elections. But since the GMO rider was never in the Senate’s version of the Ag Appropriations Bill to begin with, this means the GMO rider is dead!

The 2012 House Farm Bill contains a number dangerous GMO riders we’ve told you about, but the bill is still languishing in the House and is set to expire on September 30. There are a number of possible scenarios:

  • The Farm Bill is allowed to expire on September 30, whereupon USDA funding levels for farm programs would return to what they were in 1949. Obviously, this would mean no GMO riders! In that case, either the post-election lame duck Congress would attempt to take up this contentious issue again after the November elections—in which case we’d still have to fight the riders—or else when the next Congress convenes in January 2012, the Farm Bill process would start all over again.
  • Congress might pass a one-year extension of the current law. This isn’t a bad outcome, since this would continue the previous Farm Bill’s funding and policies—which didn’t include the GMO riders.
  • The most unlikely option, though still a possibility, is that the House would pass its Farm Bill and the conference committee would have done its work of reconciling the House and Senate versions of the bill, all before September 30.

It’s anyone’s guess what will happen, so we encourage you to keep calling and sending your letters to Congress. Ask your representative to reject the biotech industry’s Farm Bill riders! Please take action immediately—even if you’ve done so previously!

Of course, ANH-USA and many other consumer groups believe the Farm Bill is deeply flawed and should be rewritten from scratch. Between 1995 and 2011 taxpayers spent $277 billion on agricultural subsidies. Much of this money subsidizes genetically engineered corn and soy, which is then processed into high fructose corn syrup and other junk food ingredients, accelerating the obesity epidemic in America.

US PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, collected 72,000 petitions from citizens and 532 endorsements from small farmers opposing these lavish subsidies to big agriculture. Their report, Apples to Twinkies, points out that if consumers were paid directly in the same proportions as the federal subsidies, they would receive $7.36 to spend on junk food and 11 cents to buy apples. As Dr. Joseph A. Mercola puts it, “In other words, every year, your tax dollars pay for enough corn syrup and other junk food additives to buy nineteen Twinkies, but only enough fresh fruit to buy less than a quarter of one red delicious apple.”

Big Farma spent $200 million in lobbying and campaign contributions in 2009. Over 50% of farm subsidies went to only 4% of American farms—the huge factory farms, of course. And, as Dr. Mercola notes, “Since 1995, 90% of the $245 billion in agricultural subsidies went to producers of just five crops—and 30 percent went to corn. This is why high fructose corn syrup is found in nearly every single processed food on the shelf.”

On October 6, a conference aimed at healthcare practitioners (but open to the general public) will be held in Los Angeles. The “Seeds of Doubt” Conference will present compelling research from renowned experts and top scientists on the detrimental effects of GMOs and their impact on our health and environment. The conference will also help support the Label GMO initiative in California. There will be live streaming free of charge; info about the viewing site will be made available two weeks prior to the conference on the “Seeds of Doubt” website.

Read the full article and comment here: http://www.anh-usa.org/dangerous-pro-gmo-amendments/

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Earlier this month, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that Russia will not import GMO products because Russia has enough space and resources to produce organic food.

This was not a political statement of posturing, given the current cool relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine. As it turns out, Russia’s food security is light years ahead of the U.S.

As you will read below, a significant portion of the Russian population own “dachas,” or seasonal garden homes, where they can grow their own food. At the height of the communist era, it is reported that these dachas produced 90% of the nation’s food. Today, with the land now privatized, they still comprise about 40% of the nation’s food.

Compare that with the United States, where less than 1% of the population controls the food, and small-scale family farms have for the most part been bought out by huge Biotech corporations.

Russia Bans Import of GMO Products – Promotes Organic Food

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Russia will not import GMO products, the country’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, adding that the nation has enough space and resources to produce organic food.

Moscow has no reason to encourage the production of genetically modified products or import them into the country, Medvedev told a congress of deputies from rural settlements on Saturday.

“If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food,” he said.

Study: Roundup Herbicide 125 Times More Toxic Than Regulators Say

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A highly concerning new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International reveals that despite the still relatively benign reputation of agrochemicals such as Roundup herbicide, many chemical formulations upon which the modern agricultural system depend are far more toxic than present regulatory tests performed on them reveal. Roundup herbicide, for instance, was found to be 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation.

Food Security: Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse

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This year, food security is set to suffer another big setback, and the culprit could not be cuter: honeybees. Last winter, America’s beekeeping industry lost nearly half of all its bee colonies. And the numbers keep falling. Last summer, in the largest bee kill on record, more than 50,000 bumblebees were killed in Oregon as a direct result of exposure to an insecticide applied to trees for cosmetic purposes.

The killing has gotten so bad that people are calling it a beepocalypse. This is a serious situation. One-third of the food produced in North America depends on pollination by our honeybees. Nearly 100 varieties of fruits depend on honeybee pollination, from almonds (which are California’s third-largest export) to avocados to apples to cranberries.

America, then, must act fast if we want to save our bees, our food and our economic productivity.

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Health concerns aside, U.S. GMO policy is damaging the U.S. economy and costing jobs. China just announced they were rejecting U.S. GMO corn in favor of Brazilian corn, draining hundreds of millions of dollars out of the U.S. economy.

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