News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
As we reported last week, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) introduced a bill that has been championed by the Monsantos of the world, not to mention the Big Food industry. The deceptively titled “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015” would preempt state efforts to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws with a completely voluntary standard. It would also block communities and states from banning the cultivation of GMO crops. Late last week, by a vote of 275 to 150, the DARK Act passed the House, and is now on it’s way to the Senate. While it still is unclear if the Senate will consider the DARK Act or take up a similar bill that is reportedly being written by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), any step forward for this bill is dangerous for the 93% of Americans who want to know what’s in their food.
The industry-sponsored voluntary GMO labeling bill is heading for a floor vote in the House, and could be voted on any day now. If the DARK Act passes the House, its next stop would be the Senate. We reported in May that Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) is preparing his own—again, completely voluntary—GMO labeling bill. Whether the Senate will consider the House-approved DARK Act, or Hoeven’s bill when it’s ready, or neither, remains to be seen. New additions to the DARK Act also prevent local communities from banning GMO crops!
Prof Christopher Portier, one of the co-authors of the recent report by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which determined that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, said at a scientific briefing today, “Glyphosate is definitely genotoxic. There is no doubt in my mind.” “Genotoxic” means it damages DNA. It is widely believed by regulators that for genotoxic chemicals that are also carcinogenic, as glyphosate appears to be, there is no safe level of exposure.
The decision by an organization of the world’s leading cancer experts to classify the herbicide 2,4-D as a possible carcinogen underscores the risk posed by the U.S. government’s recent approval of 2,4-D for use on genetically engineered, or GMO, crops. 2,4-D is one of the two active ingredients in Enlist Duo, a toxic weed-killing cocktail marketed by Dow AgroSciences, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently approved for use in 15 states. The other herbicide in Enlist Duo is glyphosate, which the international cancer agency had previously classified as “probably carcinogenic.” Exposure to both chemicals has separately been linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The Green party made their warning after testing the breast milk of 16 women from a variety of German regions. Traces of glyphosate, a chemical used in weed-killers, amounting to between 0.210 and 0.432 nanograms per mililitre were recorded. In drinking water a quantity of no more than 0.100 nanograms of the substance is allowed. Irene Witte, professor of toxicology at the University of Oldenburg described the findings as “intolerable.” “I would never have guessed that the quantities are so high,” she said.
Rep. Mike Pompeo’s voluntary GMO labeling bill has been amended to include another brazen giveaway to Big Food and the biotech industries. We’ve been closely monitoring the progress of the bill introduced by Rep. Pompeo (R-KS) and backed by industry. It’s titled, deceptively, the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015”—and the news hasn’t been good. A few weeks ago, we reported that a Senate version of Pompeo’s bill was in the works while the House bill continued to gain co-sponsors and bipartisan support. Worse, a new draft of the Pompeo bill doubles down in pandering to the Big Food and biotech industries. In this revision, states and localities would be prevented from banning GMO crops. That’s right—states would no longer have any oversight over genetically engineered crops! Over the last few weeks, the bill has been continuing to gain momentum. Hearings on the measure have been held in the Energy and Commerce and the Agricultural committees, and a “mark-up” session is expected to happen soon, bringing the bill even closer to a vote.
A current proposed federal law on GMO food would prevent States from passing their own GMO laws on labeling GMO foods. This past week, Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group reported that Rep. Mike Pompeo's anti-GMO labeling bill, H.R. 1599, would also prevent companies from voluntarily labeling their products with non-GMO claims. Section 102 of Pompeo’s bill would make any non-GMO claim a violation of federal labeling law – unless the non-GMO claim was approved through a new certification program to be established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under Pompeo’s bill, it could take the USDA at least a year, and more likely years to set up such a certification program. If you do not want the federal government forcing companies to stop voluntarily informing their consumers about whether or not their products have GMO ingredients in them, then urge your federal elected officials to oppose H.R. 1599 (and any Senate equivalent).
10,000 Sue Syngenta Over Unapproved GMO Corn Shipped to China – U.S. Farmers Lose $5 Billion in Sales
Town hall meetings have been taking place recently regarding corn litigation with the Syngenta company. The lawsuit is regarding claims that Syngenta sold genetically modified corn with a strain called MIR-162 to China without their approval of the modification. "The first shipment that tested positive for MIR-162," Hecker Law Group attorney Jacob Hecker said, "was destroyed by the Chinese in 2013. Afterwards all other shipments with trace amounts of the strain were sent back to where they came from." Due to the boycott, agriculture experts say the cost of the damages involved is in the range of $5 billion.
The U.S. Supreme Court today handed down their decision in USDA vs. Horne. They ruled against the USDA in favor of the Hornes, raisin farmers in California. The USDA set to make an example of the Hornes for opting out of the price-fixing scheme, slapping them with about $1 million in fines and threatening their small farm. The farmers sued, claiming that packaging and selling their raisins themselves rather than turning them over to the government pool made them “producers,” not “handlers,” and, therefore, not subject to the government rules. The 8-1 decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, with the court's more conservative justices in solid agreement. Roberts said the government violates citizens' rights when it seizes personal property -- say, a car -- as well as real property such as a house. While the government can regulate production in order to keep goods off the market, the chief justice said it cannot seize that property without compensation.
Dr. Anthony Samsel was recently interviewed by Tony Mitra, where he discussed certain documents he has in his possession from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that allegedly show Monsanto knew about research connecting glyphosate to cancer since the 1970s. In this follow-up interview, Dr. Samsel discusses how the rat chow used in the laboratory feeds he analyzed were all contaminated with glyphosate. This is significant, as it means standard rat chow used in scientific studies have probably been contaminated since they started using GMO feeds that had been sprayed with glyphosate.