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While We Were Sleeping...
April Scott Salem-News.com
(SALEM, Ore.) - The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in April, for the first time, about the safety of genetically engineered (GE) crops and their potential for contamination of nearby conventional crops in Geertson Seed Farms V. USDA and Monsanto.
Owner of Geertson Seed Farms, Idaho farmer Phil Geertson is the lead plaintiff in the case. The 2006 lawsuit was filed by the Center for Food Safety on behalf of Geertson and other farmers who worry about GE crop contamination of their conventionally grown alfalfa.
Only now are millions of Americans waking up to the fact that an estimated seventy-five percent of our processed foods contain some form of genetically modified (GM) ingredients according to the Center for Food Safety.
Many consumers don’t understand the process used to develop these GM foods that have been deemed “substantially equivalent” to other foods by executive order, and therefore bypassed with little regulation to the public without their knowledge or consent.
The process behind genetically modified food involves a careful re-configuration of genes combining e-coli bacteria, soil bacteria and the cauliflower mosaic virus that causes tumors in plants. They add an antibiotic and then artificially force it into plant cells with a gene invasion technique. (Watch the process below). All this is so farmers can douse nearly unlimited amounts of Roundup Herbicide on the crops and the plants won’t die.
They don’t even know how their practices will affect the environment. Out of eight hundred reviewed GE food applications submitted to the USDA, no environmental impact statements (EIS) were conducted. USDA just released a draft of its first EIS on December 14, 2009. A 60-day comment period is open until March 3, 2010. Their final decision will have broad implications for all GE crops.
Monsanto started in 1901 as a chemical company. Their first product was saccharine, a coal tar product, otherwise known as Sweet’N Low. Monsanto’s past also embraces some of the world's most controversial developments like agent orange, aspartame, dioxin, sulphuric acid, Astroturf, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), plastics and synthetic fabrics, research on uranium for the Manhattan Project that led to the construction of nuclear bombs, styrene monomer, an endless line of pesticides and herbicides (Roundup), rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), genetically engineered crops (corn, potatoes, tomatoes, soy beans, cotton and much more).
In January 2010, The U.S. Department of Justice began investigating charges against Monsanto for violations of anti-trust and monopoly laws stemming from their GE Soybean product. Public hearings will be held this spring. Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona confirmed antitrust regulators have begun a formal investigation of the seed industry.
Several million acres of GE soybeans and cotton are purportedly now infested with glyphosate-resistant and tolerant weeds. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, which by design destroys all pests and invasive plants that come in contact with the crop. According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the number of glyphosate applications by farmers has risen considerably. It is shown that the more resistant the weeds become to the herbicide, the more chemicals the farmers will have to apply to crops to get the same effects.
Many scientists have expressed concern that the developers have no idea what new genealogical traits may come of this massive genetic experiment, because genes tend to elicit multiple and sometimes unexpected characteristics. And since no “official” human testing of possible health effects have been scientifically published, can we logically conclude that their lack of product testing, safety regulations and resistance to labeling means they're hiding something, a giant human biological experiment perhaps?
What has science revealed about the health effects in animals?
Believing in the potential of GM foods, UC Berkeley's Ignacio Chapela and Arpad Pusztai, a plant genetic modification expert from Scotland Rowett Research Institute, were fired after they were commissioned to conduct the first independent study of GM foods.
Arpad Pusztai and other scientists were shocked at their results of animals fed GM foods. Other independent studies showed stunted growth, impaired immune systems, bleeding stomachs, abnormal and potentially pre-cancerous cell growth in the intestines, impaired blood cell development, misshaped cell structures in the liver, pancreas and testicles, altered gene expression and cell metabolism, liver and kidney lesions, partially atrophied livers, inflamed kidneys, less developed organs, reduced digestive enzymes, higher blood sugar, inflamed lung tissue, increased death rates and higher offspring mortality as well.
Rob Edwards, Environment editor of Scotland’s Sunday Herald wrote of another study “genetically modified (GM) food could give you cancer. That is the stark warning today from one of Scotland's leading experts in tissue diseases.” “Dr Stanley Ewen, a consultant histopathologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, says that a cauliflower [mosaic] virus used in GM foods could increase the risk of stomach and colon cancers.”
How can they be trusted with our food?
The Washington Post already exposed some of Monsanto’s prior deceptive practices in January 2002, when staff writer Michael Grunwald published “Monsanto “Hid Decades Of Pollution - PCBs Drenched Ala. Town, But No One Was Ever Told”.
Grumwald explains that for nearly 40 years, while producing the now-banned industrial coolants known as PCBs at a local factory, Monsanto Co. routinely discharged toxic waste into a community creek in Anniston, Alabama and dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into open-pit landfills. He also published some of what was thousands of pages of Monsanto documents -- many with warnings such as "CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy". They show that “for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew”.
Grumwald states that documents reveal that in the fall of 1966, Monsanto hired a Mississippi State University biologist named Denzel Ferguson to conduct some studies around its Anniston plant. He arrived with tanks full of bluegill fish. This is what he reported to Monsanto about the results in Snow Creek: "All 25 fish lost equilibrium and turned on their sides in 10 seconds and all were dead in 3 1/2 minutes."
"I've never seen anything like it in my life," said Mack Finley, another former Ferguson graduate student, now an aquatic biologist at Austin Peay State University. "Their skin would literally slough off, like a blood blister on the bottom of your foot." "It was like dunking the fish in battery acid," recalled George Murphy, another one of Ferguson's graduate students.
The problem, Ferguson concluded, was the "extremely toxic" wastewater flowing directly from the Monsanto plant into Snow Creek, and then into the larger Choccolocco Creek, where he noted similar "die-offs." The outflow, he calculated, "would probably kill fish when diluted 1,000 times or so."
He warned Monsanto: "Since this is a surface stream that passes through residential areas, it may represent a potential source of danger to children." He urged Monsanto to clean up Snow Creek, and to stop dumping untreated waste there. Monsanto did not do that -- even though warnings continued.
An Associated Press investigation revealed contracts detailing Monsanto, the world's biggest seed developer, is squeezing out competitors, controlling smaller seed companies and protecting its control over the multibillion-dollar market for genetically altered crops.
Monsanto's patented genes are inserted into roughly 95 percent of soybeans and 80 percent of corn crops grown in the US, according to a review of several Monsanto licensing agreements and dozens of interviews with seed industry participants, agriculture and legal experts.
Frankly, I can’t understand why people aren’t rising up in arms and screaming from rooftops about the bio-technical creation of genetically modified foods and the cavalier attitude in which it has been thrust upon an unknowing public. Even now, it appears to remain unquestioned by Americans as a whole and deliberately unregulated because of a few fancy marketing techniques, high dollar lobbies and a quite possibly a handful of ego-driven politicians and executives with delusions of world domination dancing in their heads.
They have undermined our freedom of choice by refusing to label their products. Are you a bit uncomfortable that Monsanto, a former chemical company / now agricultural company (by all appearances) is controlling the safety reins of our food supply? Can they be trusted to make sound decisions affecting worldwide public health with a past full of deception affecting public safety? Does this not have catastrophe written all over it?
The Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture are charged with overseeing and monitoring the safety of our food supply, but as history shows many former Monsanto executives have become high ranking appointees and top ranking officials in these agencies. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house.
Has the public safety of Americans been “sold out” to mad scientists for cash and promises of controlling the world? He who controls the food controls the world.
Can you imagine them sitting behind their ivory tower/power structures, laughing like Count Dracula from Sesame Street counting the cookies of cash the “Monsanto Monster” left behind?
With a new president and a new agenda, those fighting against Monsanto looked to President Obama for hope. The Center for Food Safety asked the United States to re-assess its previous decision “in light of the change in administration.” In March 2009, The United States filed a response in California District Court stating that its position has not changed.
Apparently, this has been the policy of our last four administrations. Crossing political party lines, whether we have voted democrat or republican we also elected a supporter of GE food products. Worse yet, to date they have all agreed that the public does not have the right to knowingly choose non-GMO foods. How’s that for transparency?
The upcoming Supreme Court decision may well bring a sense of finality and looming consequences. As I see it, we are on the verge of permanently losing just about every biological right we have. They own multiple patents on life. Where is the line to be drawn?
If and when the US Supreme Court (like our government) sides with the big boys, there will be no turning back. Will this moment go down as the biggest biological disaster in history?
It seems, under the circumstances, that Mrs. Obama’s Childhood Obesity program could be undermined by the company she keeps, since her husband’s administration apparently dances to the beat of the GM biotech drum.
Tell us Mrs. Obama, what foods do you think our children should avoid? In truth, wouldn’t many of those products contain some of Monsanto’s most notoriously unhealthy products, like aspartame? Perhaps your organic garden reveals what you choose to feed your own children? Should we not follow your example?
Beneath public radar, there has been a silent infiltration of GMOs into our food supply with minimal testing and misrepresented results. This company has reorganized nature on a genetic level and then, by all appearances, conspired with our own government to saturate it into our food supply without the public input or opinion, much less Environmental Impact Statements, labeling or regulations?
How, by any stretch of the imagination, is this not a serious human rights violation?
What about the thousands of unhappy farmers who have been sued by Monsanto after their GE seeds made their way onto the farmers’ land? The Judge concluded in short that it ultimately didn’t matter how the genetically altered seeds got onto to their land. Whether they blew off a truck, were carried by the wind or brought in by birds or wildlife… the farmers had still infringed upon Monsanto’s patent rights. Those poor farmers were forced to destroy all of their crops and seed storage. See “The Future of Food” by Deborah Koons Garcia.
Monsanto has contaminated and pursued the destruction of millions of seeds from whence our forefathers bore from the sweat of their brows. For generations, our nation’s great farmers nurtured and even risked their lives to cultivate, maintain and safeguard the quality and purity our agricultural heritage. This is a blatant travesty to every farmer that has tilled the earth of this fine country!
We live in the United States of America. Frankly, as a US citizen, I feel scammed and outraged that I have been made an unwilling participant in this giant biological experiment. I feel raped on a genetic level and traumatized at the thought of feeding GE food products to my children. Where’s my lawyer? Does this not violate my constitutional rights?
Our United States Bill of Rights prohibits the federal government from depriving any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Wikipedia defines Liberty as a concept of political philosophy and it identifies the condition in which an individual has the right to act according to his or her own willl. Has this not taken place against our will?
From Monsanto’s Web Site: “Our Human Rights Policy is guided by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which provides the most widely recognized definition of human rights… Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world; Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people; Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law…”
Author's note: Little of this information that I’m sharing with you is new. This debate has gone on for at least two decades. In mainstream media it has received very little coverage, because typically they are guided by advertising dollars. Food manufacturers have plenty of that. This article was written using a compilation of the research, which is diligently noted below. As a consumer, there is something you can do about it. Your dollar says it all. Think about what you buy. Below is a shopping list put out by the Center for Food Safety to help you determine what may or may not contain genetically modified foods products or ingredients?
Sign an electronic letter to send to Washington that could impact world trade of GE Food Products: TAKE ACTION: Stop Siddiqui Organic Consumers Association)
(Link was down at time of publishing; in case it still is, we found this alternative link to the electronic letter in the Google cache: TAKE ACTION: Stop Siddiqui Organic Consumers Association
 "Seeds of Destruction, The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation" Review of F. William Engdahl's Book  Monsanto Hid Decades Of Pollution - The Washington Post  Monsanto Squeezes Out Seed Business Competition, AP Investigation Finds - Huffington Post  Case 3:08-cv-00484-JSW Document 135 Filed 03/25/2009 Center for Food Safety vs Thomas Vilsack  The Future Of Food Feature Film - Hulu
You can write to April Scott at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org