News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
The Supreme Court has decided to hear an important property rights case involving raisin farmers who aren't allowed to keep and sell their own crop. Every year, their raisins are seized by a Depression-era bureaucratic organization called the Raisin Administrative Committee. "They want us to pay for our own raisins that we grew," says Raisin Valley Farms owner Marvin Horne. "We have to buy them back!" This is but one absurdity that Marvin and his wife Laura have faced during their decade-long legal battle with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Every year, the Hornes plant seeds, tie vines, harvest fruit, and place grapes in paper trays to create sun-dried raisins. And every year, the federal government prevents them from bringing their full harvest to market. Watch the video for the full background on the case and to see what it's like for farmers who have up to 47 percent of their crop seized every year.
A Roundup of Roundup® Reveals Converging Pattern of Toxicity from Farm to Clinic to Laboratory Studies
"We need to ban glyphosate from our own communities as most governments fail to protect citizens" - Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji, The Institute of Science in Society
The results of government testing of our foods for pesticide residues may not be quite what we expected. Every year the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) targets certain food materials which they consider high risks, collects samples from warehouses and storage facilities, and tests them for a wide array of pesticides they deem likely to be present. These Pesticide Data Program (PDP) reports are one of many taxpayer funded activities designed to fulfill the agency's congressional goals and mandates. The latest published report from December 2014 reveals that the world's most widely-used herbicide, glyphosate, was not even tested. Neither were wheat products grown in the U.S. With all the glyphosate studies showing microbiome impacts and chelation of toxic minerals (aluminum), why no sampling of glyphosate? Is cost really so prohibitive with our federal budget, while we see escalating chronic health problems? Or, are the chemical companies behind the most popular herbicide in the world putting pressure on the federal government not to do anything that would put a dent in the sale of their products?
Genetically engineered mosquitoes may be released in the Florida Keys in the next month or two. Oxitec, a British biotech company, plans to release an experimental mosquito population genetically engineered to combat dengue fever. This is especially unnecessary since there have been no cases of dengue fever reported in the Florida Keys since 2010. The company has been preparing for FDA approval to use Key West as a test population, which is expected to happen within the first two months of 2015.
For over three decades, Stephanie Seneff, PhD, has researched biology and technology, over the years publishing over 170 scholarly peer-reviewed articles. In recent years she has concentrated on the relationship between nutrition and health, tackling such topics as Alzheimer’s, autism, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as the impact of nutritional deficiencies and environmental toxins on human health. At a recent conference, in a special panel discussion about GMOs, she took the audience by surprise when she declared, “At today’s rate, by 2025, one in two children will be autistic.” She noted that the side effects of autism closely mimic those of glyphosate toxicity, and presented data showing a remarkably consistent correlation between the use of Roundup on crops (and the creation of Roundup-ready GMO crop seeds) with rising rates of autism. Children with autism have biomarkers indicative of excessive glyphosate, including zinc and iron deficiency, low serum sulfate, seizures, and mitochondrial disorder.
As we reported in November, Maui residents successfully passed a ballot initiative banning new GMO crops in Maui County. The resolution passed by a slim margin, but Biotech giants Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences spent $8 million in a campaign to prevent the measure from passing. So while the margin of victory was small, the victory was HUGE! As soon it was obvious that the measure had been passed, Monsanto Hawaii filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the ban; and a preliminary injunction was granted by the court. Here in the second week of December, the grassroots organization in Hawaii called "SHAKA" has successfully filed a motion to become a party to the lawsuit Monsanto filed, and successfully moved the case to a different judge. The memorandum filed with the federal court appears to have been so compelling, that the existing judge, Judge Barry Kurren, really had no choice but to allow SHAKA to become a party to the lawsuit. Then they promptly booted Judge Kurren off the case. Kurren ruled earlier this year that county ordinances regulating GMO and pesticides on Kauai and the Big Island improperly preempted state law, which is probably why Monsanto and Biotech wanted him on this case as well. Read more about how getting SHAKA into this case is a victory for the people of Hawaii, for all of the U.S., and potentially for the rest of the world as well!
Earlier in 2014 we reported how China had rejected over 1.45 million tons of U.S. corn because it was found to contain a variety of genetically modified corn that is not approved in China. Much of that corn export product went to Brazil instead, as the U.S. continues to lose exports abroad due to its biotech policies of not labeling GMOs. Now, the U.S. is losing another huge export crop from America: hay. China is taking a tough stance on GMO alfalfa, which means the United States loses yet another major export agricultural product to China in hay, a livestock feed.
In what has been called one of the largest fraud investigations in the history of the organic industry, The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group, announced filing formal legal complaints against 14 industrial livestock operations producing milk, meat and eggs being marketed, allegedly illegally, as organic. After years of inaction by the USDA, Cornucopia contracted for aerial photography in nine states, from West Texas to New York and Maryland, over the past eight months. What they found confirmed earlier site visits: a systemic pattern of corporate agribusiness interests operating industrial-scale confinement livestock facilities providing no legitimate grazing, or even access to the outdoors, as required by federal organic regulations.
The results of a new study confirm many recent works showing glyphosate can wreak havoc in a mammal's intestine, affecting the microbiome. This epidemic is threatening the entire food system in the United States.
Rice Revolution: Non-GMO Super Strains Developed in Asia Require no Pesticides and Can Feed the World’s Poor
After 15 years of testing and implementation across the planet, “Green Super Rice,” developed jointly by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, is beginning to have a dramatic effect on crop yields. The target is to have 20 million hectares under cultivation in another 10 years, according to Dr Jauhar Ali, a senior scientist and regional project coordinator at IRRI in Los Banos, south of Manila. It is in effect another green revolution with the potential to make an enormous contribution to feeding the world’s poor in Asia and Africa. The ability to grow rice without pesticides or fertilizers, besides saving farmers money, is enormously important for the environment. Asia is becoming the dominant source of nitrogen pollution, producing as much as the rest of the world’s nations combined, particularly in the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas. Pesticide pollution is equally bad.