July 30, 2014

The Legislative Battlefield on GMOs

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by Alliance for Natural Health

Some quick updates on hot-button issues in Congress and in state legislatures. (Please send a thank-you to some stalwart US senators!)

Those Pro-GMO Riders

Last week we told you about some sneaky GMO amendments—two riders attached to the Farm Bill, and one attached to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill.

The House was scheduled to consider a Continuing Resolution on the current Farm Bill last Tuesday evening in an attempt to trigger a conference committee, which would have allowed the biotech industry to sneak in their riders unnoticed. Your messages poured in protesting this illegitimate procedural move, and at the last minute the House leadership decided to pull the CR from the floor agenda because there weren’t enough votes to pass it. Instead the House approved some drought relief legislation which addresses one element of the 2008 Farm Bill. Congress will have to address the Farm Bill when everyone returns from August recess, before the current legislation expires end of September.

On the Ag Appropriations Bill, the situation remains unchanged. The bill has not yet been considered on the House floor, so it will most likely be considered when they return form August recess. They will likely drop it into an omnibus spending bill— and if they do, we will keep a close eye on whether the GMO riders are included or not.

Label the GMOs?

Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer offered a GMO labeling amendment to the Farm Bill. This amendment would have reinforced states’ existing authority to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. It also required FDA and USDA to compile a report to Congress detailing the percentage of food and beverages sold in the United States that contain GE ingredients. Unfortunately, the amendment failed, 26 to 73. Action Alert! If you are a resident of any of these states, please write to the 26 senators who supported the amendment, and thank them!

Senators who supported the amendment: 

Akaka (D-HI)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Boxer (D-CA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Manchin (D-WV)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-NM)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

 

Increasingly, states are taking action on GE labeling in the face of federal government inaction. Bills are still pending in Missouri, Hawaii, New Jersey, and of course California.

In Vermont, the “VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act” was gaining steam, both in the legislature and with the public, when Monsanto threatened to sue the state of Vermont if its legislature passed the bill. So the bill languished in committee until May, when the legislature adjourned for the year.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski tried to create more hurdles to slow the approval of GE salmon. She offered an amendment that would have required a comprehensive analysis of the environmental and economic impacts of genetically engineered fish by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). However, that would have meant that NOAA would have to apply their own standards and environmental assessments for federal fisheries (such as analyzing the potential impact of the GE salmon escaping), which is beyond the scope of what FDA usually does, and the Senate voted against the amendment

Other Farm Bill Amendments

Finally, an update on two amendments we told you about this past June.

Sen. Leahy’s amendment to the Farm Bill would have increased jail terms to ten years for supplement manufacturers who “adulterate” or “misbrand” their product (which includes not following the FDA-determined NDI procedure, which we have argued is profoundly flawed and burdensome). Happily, Leahy’s amendment will not be part of the Farm Bill amendment package, though it is important we stay vigilant on the issue, since he has offered the same legislation in various forms previously (the exact same language is found in Sen. Leahy’s bill S.216, which is currently languishing in committee in the House).

Unfortunately, the same fate struck Sen. Paul’s raw milk amendment. Paul’s language would have allowed for the sale and interstate transportation of raw milk, but the amendment will not be included in the amendment package when it comes up for its vote.

Read the full article here: http://www.anh-usa.org/the-legislative-battlefield/


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More bad news for GMO seed suppliers in Brazil, where strong opposition to GMOs continues. We reported earlier this year how the U.S. had a huge shipment of corn rejected at the border of China due to unapproved GMO corn in the shipment. China ordered corn from Brazil instead, giving them a major economic incentive to pursue non-GMO corn, as the U.S. is quickly losing the corn export market due to its value of GMO technology that other countries don’t share.
Now it is being reported by farmers in Brazil that the GMO corn is no longer protecting Brazilian farmers from voracious tropical bugs. They are seeking compensation for damages due to increased costs of pesticides to battle the problem.

Factory Farmed Chicken May Be Cheap, But the Ultimate Price You Pay Is High

Factory Farmed Chicken May Be Cheap, But the Ultimate Price You Pay Is High

Demand for food at cheaper prices has dramatically altered the entire food chain. Today, food production revolves around efficiency—the ability to produce more for less.

Today, nearly 65 billion animals worldwide, including cows, chickens, and pigs, are crammed into confined animal feeding operations known as CAFOs. These animals are imprisoned and tortured in crowded, unhealthy, unsanitary, and cruel conditions.

Seeing how chicken is supposed to be a healthy source of high-quality nutrition, the fact that it has become so affordable might seem to be a great benefit. But there’s a major flaw in this equation. As it turns out, it’s virtually impossible to mass-produce clean, safe, optimally nutritious foods at rock bottom prices.

To prevent the inevitable spread of disease from stress, overcrowding, and an unnatural diet, the animals are routinely fed antibiotics. Antibiotics used in livestock pose a direct threat to human health, and contaminate the environment.

Glyphosate Herbicide Causes Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, Kidney Disease, and Infertility

Glyphosate Herbicide Causes Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, Kidney Disease, and Infertility

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden issued an alarming warning this week: “Antibiotic resistance that turns ordinary disease-causing bacteria into illnesses that can’t be controlled could bring about the next pandemic.” Frieden brought attention to the growing trend of antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can cause patients to “enter the hospital with one disease and leave with another.”

It is generally acknowledged today that the age of antibiotics is over, as bacteria have adapted to resist man-made pharmaceutical products. The focus now is on the microbiome, both the human microbiome as well as other microbiome systems within our environment, as we enter into a new age of dangerous organisms totally out of control.

How did we get to this point where modern medicines can no longer stop infections? Many analyses correctly point to the fact that we have overused man-made antibiotic drugs, both in medicine and in livestock raised in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations).

However, as we report to you today, there is probably a far greater reason the human microbiome has been damaged and in many people destroyed, leading to a multitude of allergies and diseases that plague this modern generation. That reason is linked to a common herbicide currently present in 80% of the U.S. food chain: glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides.

Glyphosate may well be the most toxic chemical ever approved for commercial use, as it is now linked to kidney disease, antibiotic resistant bacteria, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cachexia, infertility, and developmental malformations. It destroys the microbiome of humans and plants, which is the root cause of many modern diseases.

Michigan Officials Destroy $5,000.00 of Good Organic Food from Family Farm

Michigan Officials Destroy $5,000.00 of Good Organic Food from Family Farm

The government-sponsored dump of nearly $5,000 of milk, eggs, butter, and cream from Michigan’s My Family Co-Op yesterday (July 21, 2014) carried a very clear and powerful political message to all Americans: We control your food and we don’t like you buying your food outside the corporate food system. Every now and then, we are going to remind you of what bad children you are being by taking your food and throwing it in the garbage. In fact, we are going to do more than remind you, we are going to completely humiliate you by preventing you from even feeding it to farm animals and instead forcing it to be disposed of in a landfill or dumpster.

If you think I am exaggerating the intent of what is going on here, ask yourself this question: When was the last time you saw government agents seize and condemn food from a place like Foster Farms or Taco Bell or Del Monte or Kellogg’s or Trade Joe’s when their food has been found to contain pathogens, or made people sick? There’s been not even a suggestion that food at My Family Co-Op contained pathogens or made anyone sick.

Michigan Officials Seize Private Food from Family Co-op

Michigan Officials Seize Private Food from Family Co-op

David Gumpert is reporting that agents from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development pulled over the My Family Co-op’s refrigerated truck this week, and placed a seizure order on their private food which was being delivered to food club members. My Family Co-op operates a “herd-share” program that allows private club members to contract with them and share in the ownership of their farm operations to produce and deliver farm-fresh food.

These types of private food clubs are popping up all over the country, bypassing the commercial retail distribution of commodity food found in grocery stores. Big Ag, Big Dairy, and others are obviously opposed to such systems that allow farmers to sell directly to consumers, and use government regulations to go after peaceful farm operations trying to produce healthy food for those who want to bypass the commodity processed food market.

David Gumpert, however, brings up a good point in explaining that most ag inspectors that try to seize private food really have no police powers, and can be resisted. Some food clubs have successfully resisted some seizures, forcing government officials to get court sanctioned orders that can be enforced by law enforcement officials. They key is to know your rights and not be intimidated, and David Gumpert posted on his blog:

SIX WAYS TO PUT A STOP TO GOVERNMENT SEIZURES OF PRIVATELY-OWNED FOOD

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