News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
Is Wyoming’s Food Freedom Act with Farm to Consumer Direct Sales a Model for Food Security for the Rest of the U.S.?
Earlier this week (April, 2020), U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, appeared at the White House Coronavirus Task Force press conference to explain why the country is facing some food shortages, such as meats, in grocery stores, even though there is plenty of food in the country. The problem is the commodity-based food distribution system, which is experiencing bottle necks right now due to restaurants and other food establishments being shut down across the country due to the coronavirus restrictions. A significant portion of commodity-based food sales is processed, packaged, and distributed for businesses, and not for consumers who purchase food in stores and supermarkets. So with the decline in food sales to businesses, there has also been a corresponding demand for food in grocery stores from consumers who would normally be eating more at restaurants, schools, ball parks, and work places. There are a lot of businesses that get a piece of the pie that is our food system here in the U.S., controlling the flow of food from the farm to the consumer. When everything is going well, it is like a high-speed train going from one destination to another. And most of the food you see in your grocery store, or eat at institutions, is heavily subsidized by taxpayers as well, keeping food cheap, and not representing the true cost to produce that food. But when a crisis hits the nation, such as the current coronavirus pandemic, it just takes one section of the train to derail and cause the entire system to start failing, and potentially to completely derail. And the effects we are seeing today as a result of the nationwide lock downs, are really a small problem in the grand scheme of things when it comes to food distribution in this country. Just think of what the effects could potentially look like if, for example, transportation was disrupted due to energy disruptions, or communication was disrupted due to electrical grid issues, or telecommunication issues. This is mild in comparison to what might happen, for example, if the country found itself in a real war, and not a "war" on a virus, where an enemy could bring down the power grid, disrupt the Internet, etc. This should be a wake up call that our nation's food distribution system is incredibly vulnerable. Wyoming's Food Freedom Act, allowing local consumers to purchase food directly from farms in their community, might be a model that needs to now be put in place at the national level.
The Bill Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the world, with a trust endowment valued at $48 billion and yearly grant payments in excess of $5 billion annually. In addition to being one of the largest contributors to the World Health Organization (WHO), with heavy involvement in global public health, the Gates Foundation is deeply involved in agricultural development. It's a noble cause but one that's being carried out using an agenda that supports agrochemicals, patented seeds and corporate control — interests that undermine regenerative, sustainable, small-scale farming. In a report by Global Justice Now, the excessive global influence held by the Gates Foundation is illustrated, starting with the $2 billion the foundation has spent on agriculture, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. "It is the world's fifth largest donor to agriculture, spending $389 million in 2013; only Germany, Japan, Norway and the U.S. have larger bilateral aid programs to agriculture," the report noted, and, "With funding comes in influence." Indeed, in February 2012, when the Gates Foundation announced a $200 million donation to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Gates talked of the importance of brining "agricultural science and technology to poor farmers." These are buzzwords that imply genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and biotechnology, which are heavily favored by the Gates Foundation.
A California shareholder of Bayer AG on Friday filed a lawsuit against the companies’ top executives claiming they breached their duty of “prudence” and “loyalty” to the company and investors by buying Monsanto Co. in 2018, an acquisition the suit claims has “inflicted billions of dollars of damages” on the company. Plaintiff Rebecca R. Haussmann, trustee of the Konstantin S. Haussmann Trust, is the sole named plaintiff in the suit, which was filed in New York County Supreme Court. The named defendants include Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, who orchestrated the $63 billion Monsanto purchase, and Bayer Chairman Werner Wenning, who announced last month he was stepping down from the company earlier than planned. The suit claims that Wenning’s decision came after Bayer improperly obtained a copy of the then-draft shareholder lawsuit “through corporate espionage.” The lawsuit also claims that Bayer’s recent announcement of an audit of its acquisition actions is “bogus” and “part of the ongoing cover-up and intended to create a legal barrier to this case to protect Defendants from their accountability…”
Thousands of farmers from multiple states are expected to join mass tort litigation pending in federal court over claims that weed-killing products developed by the former Monsanto Co. and other chemical companies are destroying and contaminating crops, including organic production, a group of lawyers and farmers said on Wednesday. The number of farmers seeking legal representation to file suit against Monsanto and BASF has surged over the last week and a half after a staggering $265 million jury award to a Missouri peach farmer who alleged the two companies were to blame for the loss of his livelihood, according to Joseph Peiffer of the Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane law firm. Peiffer said more than 2,000 farmers are likely to become plaintiffs.
A jury awarded $265 million in punitive damages against Bayer and BASF to a southeastern Missouri peach farmer who argued that weedkiller dicamba that had drifted onto his orchards from other farms had severely damaged his trees. The punitive damages awarded to farmer Bill Bader came a day after the jury awarded him $15 million in actual damages, agreeing with his argument that dicamba had drifted over from other farms and severely damaged Bader Farms, which is one of the largest peach farms in Missouri. Bader's attorneys argued that his trees likely wouldn't survive the dicamba exposure. The owners of Bader Farms alleged the companies conspired to create an “ecological disaster” that would induce farmers to buy dicamba-tolerant seeds.
Significant bioaccumulation of glyphosate has been documented in the kidney, an organ with known susceptibility to glyphosate. Glyphosate-induced kidney toxicity has been associated with disturbances in the expression of genes associated with fibrosis, necrosis and mitochondrial membrane dysfunction. Further, as noted by the Environmental Pollution study researchers, “Previous studies have associated glyphosate exposure with changes in renal function, kidney injury, and chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology. There is growing evidence linking glyphosate exposure with the epidemic of chronic kidney disease of unknown origin in farmworkers in Central America, Sri Lanka and central India.” Dr. Sarath Gunatilake, professor of health science at the University of California and Channa Jayasumana, Ph.D., a faculty member of Medicine and Allied Sciences at the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, have published papers linking glyphosate exposure to chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) in Sri Lankan farmers.
Last year (2019), a report published by The Environmental Working Group (EWG) showed that virtually all of America’s breakfast cereals, consumed primarily by children, are contaminated with the toxic herbicide, glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp, and has been linked to cancer. Juries in recent court cases have awarded billions of dollars in damages to cancer victims who were exposed to glyphosate. This week, EWG is reporting that Kellogg is pledging to stop using glyphosate in the harvesting of grains by 2025. Kellogg's pledged to work with its wheat and oat suppliers to end the use of the herbicide, sold under the name Roundup, as a pre-harvest drying agent in all of its major crop markets, including the U.S., by 2025, according to a statement published on the company’s website and reported on by the Washington Post. While this is encouraging news that Kellogg will eventually phase out its usage of glyphosate, it is impossible for any company producing products from American grains to remove glyphosate from their products today. Even getting the other cereal producers like General Mills and Quaker to stop their grain farmers from using glyphosate to desiccate will not solve the problem. The reason for this is because even USDA certified organic grains in the U.S. today are contaminated with glyphosate, as are conventional crops that do not spray their crops with glyphosate at harvest. So how do you find food that is not contaminated with glyphosate?
As we have reported many times since 2014, America has a major problem with its wheat supply. Virtually all of the wheat grown in the northern climates is contaminated. There is currently no GMO wheat grown in the U.S., even though from time to time a farmer will find wheat growing that does not die when sprayed with glyphosate herbicides. These are no doubt rogue varieties of wheat left over from GMO test plots years ago, but there is currently no commercially grown GMO wheat. And yet, most of the nation's wheat is contaminated with glyphosate. This is because of the practice of "desiccation," where farmers will apply the herbicide RoundUp with glyphosate to kill the wheat so it can be harvested at a convenient time, like before the first snow fall. Glyphosate is now linked to cancer as well as many other diseases. Some scientists believe that the gluten intolerance epidemic we face in the U.S. has less to do with wheat and gluten than it does with the contamination of the wheat supply with glyphosate. A new study just published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, may have identified another problem with America's wheat supply that is desiccated at harvest with glyphosate. The title of the study is PRE-HARVEST GLYPHOSATE APPLICATION DURING WHEAT CULTIVATION: EFFECTS ON WHEAT STARCH PHYSICOCHEMICAL PROPERTIES. The study looks at the maturity of the wheat when it is desiccated with glyphosate and the digestibility of the starch in wheat. When glyphosate is applied before the wheat is mature, it affects the physicochemical properties of the starch.
Earlier this month (December 2019) the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines announced that they had approved the genetically modified "Golden Rice" for "direct use as food and feed, or for processing." Health Impact News has been covering GM "Golden Rice" for over 8 years now, and the controversy surrounding it. The scientific evidence that GM Golden Rice could improve nutrition and deficiencies in Vitamin A has been very weak, and the product was considered "dead" until the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation intervened in 2011 with $20 million to continue developing the product. After years of field trials in the Philippines with very negative outcomes, farmers in the Philippines have protested against its approval. Dr. Chito Medina, National Coordinator of the farmer-scientist group MASIPAG stated in 2014: “Our opposition to Golden Rice and other GM crops are founded on solid arguments and actual experiences of Filipino farmers on GM crops. Filipino farmers who have been planting GM crops suffered negative income, health problems and poisoned environment.” He cited the study made by MASIPAG in which farmers who adopted GM corn suffered further indebtedness, health problems and a poisoned environment.
The Mexican government says it won’t allow a 1,000-ton shipment of the pesticide glyphosate into the country, citing health and environmental concerns. Mexico became the latest in a string of countries to announce bans on glyphosate, the active ingredient in weed killer Roundup. Mexico’s environment department said Monday it denied a permit to import glyphosate, presumably for agricultural use. The department said “glyphosate represents a high environmental risk, given the credible presumption that its use can cause serious environmental damage and irreversible health damage.”