News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
A wave of glyphosate bans are being introduced by member states in Europe while the issue of the chemical’s reauthorization at EU level drags on. Among the most dramatic developments has been the announcement by Belgium’s federal minister of agriculture, Willy Borsus, that he wants to ban the sale and use of herbicides by non-professionals. He voiced particular concern over glyphosate. "Considering the risk-benefit balance, there is no justification for the use of herbicides for individuals," Borsus said. He said there were safer alternatives, such as heat treatment, mechanical weeding, or bio-pesticides. Borsus also called for a new investigation into alleged “Monsanto manoeuvres and attempts to influence experts” with the aim of keeping glyphosate on the market.
A bill introduced into the Oregon legislature would allow non-GMO farmers to sue biotech patent holders over trespass by their GMO crops if their crops were to spread on to their farms. HB 2739 survived a legal hurdle in April, when the bill was referred to the House Rules Committee, which isn’t subject to an April 18 legislative deadline that recently killed other proposals. The move could effectively allow HB 2739 to stay alive through the end of the 2017 legislative session, scheduled to end in late June.
A new ruling is expected to pave the way for genetically modified citrus to enter your local stores—but a loophole allows the food industry to keep you in the dark about the nature of the fruit you’re purchasing. The trees are treated with a genetically modified virus that makes them resistant to citrus greening disease, which has caused major problems for citrus growers in Florida. But according to the government’s definition, neither the trees nor the fruit will be considered genetically modified (an assertion that is patently absurd), so once again consumers will be in the dark about what kind of food they’ll be eating.
Numerous new medicines and medical devices have been marketed with claims that declare them to be “safe and effective” – which is a compelling marketing slogan, though devoid of scientific proof. Such claims are facilitated by collusion between the pharmaceutical industry and authoritative government agencies, aided by leading scientists (“key opinion leaders” known within industry as KOLs) and renowned scientific institutions. Internal FDA documents confirm that genetic engineered/modified food products (widely known as GMOs), entered the U.S. food supply without having been subjected to scientifically rigorous safety tests as is mandated by law. GMOs entered the market through the perversion of science, the corruption of government by politically appointed bureaucrats whose allegiance was with industry. (Read AHRP Post How Monsanto Rigged the System through politics and propaganda) In 2003, a congressional committee report, documented political interference and manipulation of scientific research at federal agencies charged with developing science-based public health policies.
Boulder County, Colorado will completely phase out genetically modified (GMO) corn and sugar beets, and neonicotinoid insecticides on county-owned land. According to the Daily Camera, commissioners voted 2-1 last week to approve the latest version of a transition plan that bans the cultivation of GMO corn by the end of 2019 and GMO sugar beets by the end of 2021. Neonicotinoids, which have been widely blamed for the declines of bees and other pollinators, will also be phased out within five years on county properties.
Modern agricultural practices have led to ever-increasing amounts of chemicals being used on our food, and whether we're talking about pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, most have deleterious effects on health. According to the latest report on pesticide residues in food by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a mere 15 percent of all the food samples tested in 2015 were free from pesticide residues. In 2014, over 41 percent of samples had no detectable pesticide residues on them. That just goes to show how quickly our food is being poisoned. At that trajectory, we may eventually find out none of the non-organic food sold in 2016 or 2017 was pesticide-free. Recent news has highlighted a number of problems associated with this out-of-control use of agricultural chemicals, starting with atrazine.
Regulators in Wisconsin have reportedly lifted the "cease and desist" order from a warning sent to Amish Wisconsin egg farmers in March. The 7-year operation where farmers shipped their eggs directly to consumers from their farm was temporarily shut down by an order from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture from a complaint that allegedly originated from regulators in California. After an outcry from customers and supporters who contacted the governor of Wisconsin and other officials, regulators reportedly told the farmers that they could continue shipping their eggs while they worked with them to bring them into compliance with the alleged violations. The farmers are happy to be able to sell their inventory of eggs again because they would have had to shut down their operation at the end of this week due to the cost of feeding and maintaining their flocks while not being able to sell their eggs. They are not sure yet if any new regulations or requirements placed on them will become a burden too costly to allow their operation to continue, so it is uncertain at this time if their 7-year direct-to-consumer egg operation will continue to operate into the foreseeable future. For now, customers can order the eggs from the Healthy Traditions' website. Meanwhile, there is more evidence that the State of California was behind this action, as they recently sent a "cease and desist" order to Tropical Traditions regarding the sale and shipping of eggs.
Both the USDA and FDA seem to focus on protecting factory farming and all the industries that contribute to BigAg and Big Dairy from competition by smaller healthier operations. They do this by enforcing regulations meant for factory farms and CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), which by their very vastness and economics need to be regulated since they are breeding grounds for disease. This holds true for foods that most urban shoppers take for granted, eggs and milk. Using the cover of "protecting human health," these agencies force operations to protect against foodborne pathogens that often don’t work or are not necessary with good farming practices. We, consumers, get less nutrition from those milk and egg products but Big Ag thrives. One way to continue "business as usual" is to prevent the rising demand for healthier milk and eggs that encourage small dairies and egg producers to have any market presence. We should have the right to choose and support better farming.
Monsanto and other glyphosate manufacturers appear to have distorted scientific evidence on the public health impacts of glyphosate in order to keep the controversial substance on the market, according to a new report released today by GLOBAL 2000 (Friends of the Earth Austria) with the support of Avaaz, BUND, Campact, CEO, GMWatch, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe, PAN Germany, and Umweltinstitut München. Between 2012 and 2016, the companies sponsored a series of review articles published in scientific journals, all of which conclude that glyphosate and its commercial formulations are not harmful to health. The new report, “Buying Science”, shows that these industry-sponsored reviews of glyphosate’s carcinogenicity and genotoxicity (ability to damage DNA) contain fundamental scientific flaws, spanning from apparently calculated omissions and the introduction of irrelevant data to the violation of OECD guidance for the evaluation of rodent cancer studies. The reviews also consistently assign greater weight to unpublished industry studies than to studies that were peer-reviewed and published in scientific journals.
People with allergies to soy protein now have one less source for purchasing soy-free eggs. Two small-scale farmers in Wisconsin have been informed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture that they must stop selling their soy-free and GMO-tested eggs to consumers until they meet state government regulations for shipping eggs that they allege the farmers are violating. They have been shipping their eggs directly to the homes of customers throughout the United States since the beginning of 2010. In letters dated, March 13, 2017, the State of Wisconsin sent two farmers who are part of the Wisconsin Pasturelands Cooperative a Cease and Desist order regarding their eggs. The two farmers were informed that they were selling eggs and shipping them to consumers without proper refrigeration during shipping. They were specifically instructed that until this situation is corrected, “you shall not hold, process, package or sell the eggs for human consumption from your home or any other location.” The farmer cooperative run by Amish in rural Wisconsin since 2010 has been working together with an Internet business, Tropical Traditions (now Healthy Traditions), to market their eggs from cage-free chickens fed a specially developed feed that contains no soy, no corn, and ingredients that are tested to be free from GMOs and the herbicide glyphosate. They are believed to be one of the first ones in the U.S. to offer eggs from chickens on a soy-free diet. The eggs were marketed under the Grass-fed Traditions brand, which is now part of the Healthy Traditions product line offering alternatives to commodity food. Healthy Traditions tests their products for the presence of GMOs and the herbicide glyphosate. While the State of Wisconsin is claiming that the farmers are violating regulations for the refrigerated transportation of eggs, there is no indication that these regulations apply to consumers transporting their own eggs, whether they are transporting the eggs themselves directly from the farm, or paying someone else to ship them on their behalf.