Tuesday, July 31, 2012

GMO Labelling-- AgriBusiness Doesn't Want You To Know... And The Senators They Own Are Backing Them Up


Hard to make a choice without information. When I go shopping, I'd like to avoid genetically modified food. Last month the Senate made it a lot harder for me to do that by giving AgriBusiness a big fat wet kiss. The Senate voted 26-73 against an amendment by Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to the Agriculture Reform Act of 2012 that would have permitted states to require that any food, beverage, or other edible product offered for sale have a label on indicating that the food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically engineered ingredient. Why is this important? Let's look at what GMO is. This is how the Natural Society defines GMOs:
Genetically modified foods are compromised of organisms (known as GMOs for ‘genetically modified organisms’) which have been genetically altered for ‘improvement’. Biotechnology giant Monsanto is the primary maker of genetically modified seeds, responsible for 90 percent of the genetically engineered seed on the United States market.

The touted reasons for genetically modifying foods vary from making a fruit larger and seedless to resisting pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Millions of dollars are invested in this bioengineering process annually by many, with Bill Gates most notably investing into Monsanto with 500,000 shares. But are GMO foods really the solution to humanity’s problems, or are they negatively affecting virtually all life on planet earth?

Genetically modified foods have been proven not only to be unhealthy, but also deadly. One review of 19 studies showed that with the consumption of genetically modified foods comes significant organ disruptions, especially in the liver and kidneys. What’s more, however, is that the damage posed by Monsanto’s GMO creations extend even further than public health. In fact, they threaten the environment as a whole. This is perhaps the most concerning effect of GMOs.

Monsanto has created GMO crops that contain something known as Bt, which is a toxin incorporated into the crops with the intention of killing off insects. The usage of the Bt biopesticide within these GMO crops, however, has actually led to ‘mutant’ insect populations which are directly resistant to the biopesticide. Reports state that at least 8 insect populations have developed resistance, with 2 populations resistant to Bt sprays and at least 6 species resistant to Bt crops as a whole. As a result, farmers must spray even more pesticides!

Beyond GM seeds and the Bt pesticide, Monsanto is also the creator of the best-selling herbicide Roundup. The usage of Roundup has spawned over 120 million hectacres of herbicide-resistant superweeds that have destroyed the farmland in which they reside. In addition, much of the soil has also been damaged. Even in the face of these statistics, Monsanto continues to disregard any and all warning signs.

Genetically modified foods present a very real threat to the genetic integrity of both humankind and the environment, and require vigorous longterm research before being unleashed on the public. That is why nations like Peru, France, and Hungary are taking action against Monsanto and GMOs over legitimate health concerns.

Over the weekend Elizabeth Renter of the Natural Society warned us of the top 10 GMO foods to avoid. "Genetically modified foods," she explains, "have been shown to cause harm to humans, animals, and the environmental, and despite growing opposition, more and more foods continue to be genetically altered. It's important to note that steering clear from these foods completely may be difficult, and you should merely try finding other sources than your big chain grocer. If produce is certified USDA-organic, it's non-GMO (or supposed to be!) Also, seek out local farmers and booths at farmer's markets where you can be ensured the crops aren't GMO... With little regulation and safety tests performed by the companies doing the genetic modifications themselves, we have no way of knowing for certain what risks these lab-created foods pose to us outside of what we already know. The best advice: steer clear of them altogether."

Top 10 Worst GMO Foods
1. Corn: This is a no-brainer. If you've watched any food documentary, you know corn is highly modified. "As many as half of all U.S. farms growing corn for Monsanto are using genetically modified corn," and much of it is intended for human consumption. Monsanto's GMO corn has been tied to numerous health issues, including weight gain and organ disruption.

2. Soy: Found in tofu, vegetarian products, soybean oil, soy flour, and numerous other products, soy is also modified to resist herbicides. As of now, biotech giant Monsanto still has a tight grasp on the soybean market, with approximately 90 percent of soy being genetically engineered to resist Monsanto's herbicide Roundup. In one single year, 2006, 96.7 million pounds of glyphosate was sprayed on soybeans alone.

3. Sugar: According to NaturalNews, genetically-modified sugar beets were introduced to the U.S. market in 2009. Like others, they've been modified by Monsanto to resist herbicides. Monsanto has even had USDA and court-related issues with the planting of it's sugarbeets, being ordered to remove seeds from the soil due to illegal approval.

4. Aspartame: Aspartame is a toxic additive used in numerous food products, and should be avoided for numerous reasons, including the fact that it is created with genetically modified bacteria.

5. Papayas: This one may come as a surprise to all of you tropical-fruit lovers. GMO papayas have been grown in Hawaii for consumption since 1999. Though they can't be sold to countries in the European Union, they are welcome with open arms in the U.S. and Canada.

6. Canola: One of the most chemically altered foods in the U.S. diet, canola oil is obtained from rapeseed through a series of chemical actions.

7. Cotton: Found in cotton oil, cotton originating in India and China in particular has serious risks.

8. Dairy: Your dairy products contain growth hormones, with as many as one-fifth of all dairy cows in America are pumped with these hormones. In fact, Monasnto's health-hazardous rBGH has been banned in 27 countries, but is still in most US cows. If you must drink milk, buy organic.

9. and 10. Zucchini and Yellow Squash: Closely related, these two squash varieties are modified to resist viruses.

Only one Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska backed Bernie Sanders' amendment. All the other Republicans backed Monsanto's diktat that the information be hidden from the public. Figures the GOP would take that stance. What was horrifying was how many Democrats-- including some progressives like Sherrod Brown (OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (MN), Kirtsen Gillibrand (NY), Tom Harkin (IA), and Chuck Schumer (NY)-- sold us out. Even Joe Lieberman (CT) and Joe Manchin (WV) knew enough to vote for disclosure this time! These are the only senators who voted for 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)

Monsanto gives legalistic bribes to senators from both parties, though they favor Republicans. In the current session, their biggest recipient was retiring Nebraska conservative Ben Nelson ($13,000), although it's worth noting that every single incumbent they contributed to this year voted to keep the information from consumers-- Max Baucus (D-MT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Michael Johanns (R-NE), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Debbie Stabbenow (D-MI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS). In the 2010 cycle Monsanto spent just over $100,000 in direct "contributions" to senators. Only one, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, got money from them and voted for Bernie's amendment. This year they're doing double-time to elect 3 notorious corporate whores from the House to the Senate: Todd Akin (R-MO), Rick Berg (R-ND), and Denny Rehberg (R-MT).

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At 11:07 PM, Anonymous me said...

A lot of accusations and innuendo.

I don't trust Monsanto or any other corporation any farther than I can throw them, and they'd sell us poison if there were profit in it. OTOH, I haven't seen any hard data showing that GMO products are harmful.

And even if some are, that cannot be used to indict the entire industry. Face it - there are benefits, chiefly lower price and better quality. Those seeds sell for a reason.

At 11:17 PM, Blogger Christine Eubanks said...

"Biotechnology giant Monsanto is the primary maker of genetically modified seeds, responsible for 90 percent of the genetically engineered seed on the United States market."

Yes, Monsanto is behind all of it that's why they were the worst company in 2011 because of their GMO works, they deserved it.


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