Posts Tagged ‘labeling’

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Different Kind of GMO is Headed to Supermarket Shelves

Support Organic farmers.

The  Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing concerns about RNAi technology raised by several research papers. But the agency’s authority to regulate transgenic crops is limited (See inset). Meanwhile, several other RNAi-altered fruits and vegetables, including non-bruising potatoes, called Innate Potato, and a new kind of pest-resistant corn, are on their way to supermarket shelves.

While the technology has indeed been used in many pharmaceutical products, in the past several years several food crops utilizing RNAi too, have been developed. The most troubling among these are the ones developed for pest control.

Toxins in the food.

That’s the point.

That’s the selling point — to farmers — not to you, the actual end-user. You’re not allowed to know.

If you don’t like the idea of corporate profiteers ramming their experimental foods down your throat, and the throats of your loved ones, then you’re not alone.

68% of Doctors Want GMOs Labeled
GMO Soy Accumulates Formaldehyde & Disrupts Plant Metabolism

ALL POSTS ON GMOS

gmoomgGMO OMG

by JP Sottile | The Newsvandal

GMOs are not popular and Big Ag knows it.

That’s why the industry opened its wallet to defeat attempts to pass mandatory labeling of food containing genetically modified components in California ($46m) and in Washington ($22m). It is also why the Grocery Manufacturers Association recently launched a “pre-emptive strike” against labeling at the Federal level.

The plan is to lobby Congress into setting a national labeling standard that would supersede labeling laws passed at the state or local level. If adopted, that labeling “requirement” will be every corporate captain’s favorite type of regulation—it will be a voluntary requirement!

Even without a “voluntary requirement” in place, the folks at General Mills realized the perception of GMOs is negative enough to warrant the elimination of genetically modified ingredients from one of America’s most iconic brand identities—Cheerios. It may just be a gimmick. Or it may be a test run to see if the “GMO-free” label generates a sales spike. Or it may be an admission of the real and dire image problems GMOs have with the public.

Is there any doubt General Mills did its due diligence—with copious test marketing and numerous focus groups—before modifying their flagship Cheerios brand?

No, Big Ag and Big Food know they have a big problem. But voluntary labeling is just the most visible part of a long-term strategy for shoving their food agenda down Americans’ throats. Another tactic involves using the specter of “terrorism” as a weapon against a growing army of activists. And a new front in the war on so-called “environmental terrorism” is, oddly enough, a Federal Court in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

According to a lawsuit filed on January 10, 2014, three of biotech’s biggest players—Syngenta, Pioneer-DuPont and Dow Chemical’s Agrigenetics, Inc—claim an anti-GMO law passed by the County of Kaua‘i exposes them and their operations to “risks of corporate espionage, vandalism and environmental terrorism.”

The law in question—Ordinance 960—forces farmers to disclose information about the use of pesticides and genetically modified seeds and crops. This requirement is not voluntary. Not coincidentally, the three companies filing suit qualify as “farmers” under the ordinance since they lease a total of 11,500 acres on the island. Its remote location makes Kaua‘i, like the other Hawai‘ian islands, a perfect laboratory for testing new and exciting seeds, pesticides, herbicides and “poison-ready” crops. But people don’t like to be lab rats. Perhaps that is why there has been so much resistance to Big Ag in paradise, particularly on the Big Island.

Last December, Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi signed a nearly-complete ban on all new genetically altered crops on the island. That’s a big “No!” to Syngenta, Dow, DuPont and Monsanto. And this resistance is spreading around the island chain. More directly, this backlash at the state and local level is exactly the sort of direct democracy Big Ag and Big Food both want to forestall at the federal level with their voluntary labeling ploy.

As the casino-like haggling over the Farm Bill illustrates each and every year, they’ve got the lobbyists and the bankrolls to make a whole-lotta hay in Gucci Gulch. But even more troubling than run-of-the-mill palm greasing is how anti-terrorism laws have turned state, local and federal law enforcement into a de facto corporate security force deployed on an ad hoc basis against environmental activists and protesters. As the lawsuit in Hawai‘i shows, the industry is well aware of the implications of labeling—in this case, the importance of labeling their opponents as agents of environmental terrorism.

But it isn’t limited to just “terrorism.” Sometimes it’s about stopping a “terrorism hoax.”

As independent journalist Will Potter reported in Vice, two anti-tar sands activists were recently arrested at the headquarters of Devon Energy in Oklahoma City. Devon Energy led the way on fracking and its CEO sits on the board of TransCanada—the prime mover behind the KeystoneXL pipeline. The two “radicals” unfurled a Hunger Games-themed protest banner in the building’s atrium, and some of the glitter they’d used fell to the floor. Of course, police were on the scene immediately and, because 9/11 changed everything, they decided to cordon-off the glitter and investigate it as a possible “biochemical assault.”

Much to the surprise of no one, it turned out that the glitter was, in fact, glitter. But the fear and loathing caused by the glitter was, according to charges filed, tantamount to terrorism and, therefore, a terrorism hoax—which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.

What isn’t a hoax is the terrifying “chemical assault” on the environment and ground-water by fracking chemicals and by tar sands production. The irony of this juxtaposition is almost comical. The fracking industry doesn’t have to disclose information about the poisonous chemical cocktails it injects into the drinking water of millions. And federal authorities recently stopped investigating chemical assaults in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. Nor will police cordon-off the toxic waste from tar sands piling up along the Detroit River. But they did arrest two activists protesting in accordance with their First Amendment rights. Or so those protesters thought.

In case you missed it, the ability of corporations to use “anti-terrorism” to shield their unsavory practices has been rooted in law since Congress passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act in 2006. It’s primary target was, and still is, activists who engage in protests, civil disobedience and undercover activities that expose another of Big Ag’s public relations disasters—factory farming.

The signing of that bill into law opened the door to a host of “Ag-Gag” laws at the state level. These are, in fact, anti-whistleblower laws designed to keep shocking pictures of abused and infirm animals from disrupting the revenue stream flowing out of Big Ag’s industrialized food-chain. We are not talking about Earth First blowing up loggers to protect spotted owls. We are talking about people doing the sort of thankless investigative work that, in a bygone era, made Upton Sinclair a household name and inspired passage of regulations meant to ensure a level of safety in the food people eat.

A century later, the hard work of muckrakers is being undone. New rules allow poultry “processing” plants to self-regulate while Big Ag hides behind specious laws that taint whistleblowers as terrorists. Ag-Gag laws and the claims of Big Biotech in Kaua‘i echo an FBI document classifying the surreptitious videotaping of animal abuse by factory farmers as “terrorism” and, by extension, the activists and whistleblowers who do it as “terrorists.”

The problem for Big Ag and Big Food is that these videos work. People are outraged once they see what happens to their dinner before it gets to their plates. In 2011, Activists at Mercy for Animals produced footage of horrific abuse of chickens at Sparboe Egg Farms and it wasn’t long before McDonald’s and Target dropped the callous egg supplier.

It worked when Upton Sinclair published The Jungle a century ago, and it works today when activists and whistleblowers expose the seamier side of big business. In this corporate age, image matters more than ever. And images that affect how consumers regard corporations affect the bottom line, and the bottom line affects every decision corporations make. They know that labels are important—whether it be “GMO” or “terrorist.”

 


WATCH:

GMO Ticking Time Bomb

Genetic Roulette

Ignorance Wins in California

Joe Giambrone

The ballot initiative to give the public the “right to know” if their food is genetically altered in a laboratory (Prop 37) has failed by 53/47%.  The Monsanto and partners disinformation blitz, to the tune of $44 Million or more, succeeded in confusing citizens and convincing them to directly vote against their own interests. It helped the corporate gang that their slush fund was able to sway several large newspapers into siding with them and to tell their readers to oppose their own basic rights.

The blame, however, ultimately rests upon the people themselves.  Ignorance can be combatted with education, yet often that’s not the case.  People are far too willing to believe well-told lies rather than expend the energy to investigate the truth for themselves.  They are molded from childhood to be passive receptacles of information rather than curious seekers of knowledge.  This style of factory-worker programming is widespread and a relic from the recent past industrial age.  Workers were not expected to question, but to passively obey, thus the non-thinking majority.

Another facet of the disinformation on Proposition 37 is the myth of technocratic solutions to all problems.  If science can do it, then it must be good.  The scientists know more than the couch potatoes, and so these naturally defer to the so-called experts, or any paid PR flak posing as an expert.

The Monsanto, Dupont, Dow, Bayer crowd’s “expert” du jour was one Dr. Henry I. Miller, who was one of the monkey wrenchers at the Food and Drug Administration in 1992, when their policy of allowing any and all corporate experiments in genetics to be sold as “food” was first codified.  Miller wrote a book that could serve as Monsanto’s bible on GMOs:

“The products of the new biotechnology often were regarded as though they were mysterious and alien substances transported here from another galaxy, instead of the result of precise and well-understood scientific processes.”

Mr. Miller has a problem understanding that the results of eating these products over the long term are an imprecise and completely non-understood experiment that has not been completed.  The experiments are currently ongoing, but have no controls, no limitations and no mechanisms for stopping them.  The guinea pigs and rats are the human beings populating America and other nations, and with no “precise” method of predicting harm to vital organs and systems, Mr. Miller’s efforts will likely result in catastrophic harm to millions.  Or is it billions?

While inserting genes may be a “precise” and “well-understood” process, what the genes actually do to the organism after being inserted is not precise or well-understood at all.  Those are the actual findings of the FDA scientists who directly contradicted their political/industrial masters like Miller at the time.  Honest scientists have been contradicting these rosy estimates ever since.  Peer-reviewed animal studies with GMO foods regularly show tumors, organ failures and even death.

Mr. Miller has quite a history with these issues, and during the recent “No on Proposition 37” campaign, he was repeatedly caught misrepresenting organizations: first Stanford University and then the FDA itself.  He may be under FBI investigation for fraudulently using the FDA’s seal in his mailings to voters.  Stanford forced him to reshoot his television commercial and to not show their campus in the background nor claim to speak for the university.

Miller has spoken for a number of other interesting issues over his career.  In addition to ramming genetic experiments down the throats of the nation, Miller has had prior love affairs with tobacco, DDT pesticides, the pharmaceutical industry – again concerning the need to get rid of all that pesky safety-testing – as well as with Exxon and even with radiation, claiming that the Japanese people “”could actually have benefited” from the Fukushima meltdown!

Oh yes.  This is the man who led the forces of deceit and disinformation to victory this week in California.  Voters would rather not know what they are feeding their children than to have to think about any such matters again.  One wonders if 53% of the population has ever read a nutrition label in their lives.  One may even notice the shape, the literal bulbous round shape of their co-citizens as they hobble about or ride the electric carts through the supermarkets.  These people will be protected from having to read yet another label or having to make a choice about it.  Thank God for that.  We have too much choice, you see, and too much knowledge at our disposals.  It’s all too much, and we really need saviors like Dr. Miller to sort it all out for us and tell us what to do.

Those who look at numbers might be interested to know that only 52.3% of registered voters showed up, and it’s difficult to know how many don’t even bother to register.  As 8.7 million registered California voters didn’t even bother to cast a ballot for anything, perhaps we are really at the limits of democracy.  The cracks have widened and the integrity of the system is crumbling.  There are many ways to look at the fact of low voter turnout, and many will spin it this way or that.  Some will champion the non-voter as some kind of hero.  One thing is certain: when they don’t show up, they affect nothing.  Those who assume power don’t care a bit about them.  Their influence is nothing.  Their prospects are slim for gaining anything in the political processes that will scrape on without them.  They have failed to even make a statement in favor of a third-party opposition candidate.  They have abdicated their responsibilities as citizens.

Will GMO labeling be back?

Count on it.  Count on it passing next time, too.  The gloves come off. Now we show the deformed rats, the bulging tumors busting out of the bodies of Monsanto corn fed test animals.  Now we get in your face and show the birth defects and the dead litters of rats fed Monsanto Round-Up Ready soy – the same stuff you’re feeding your own children.  Now we step up our game and directly challenge your ignorance when you worry about the profit potential of the Genetic Engineering industry.

The GMO lobby’s scare tactics involved telling California completely unfounded rumors of food prices skyrocketing if they were forced to disclose to the consumers what they are actually buying.  Is that the way economics actually works however?

What is the economics 101 analysis of this situation?  The GMO food producer places a mandatory label on his stuff.  The consumer sees this label and notes how this GMO altered variety is less desirable than the non-GMO variety sitting next to it.  The consumer uses his free will and free choice to choose the non-GMO natural variety to feed her family.  How does this affect the price of the GMO foods in the real world?  Will they go up?  Rubbish.  They will be less desired.  In the parlance of the economists, the “demand” is reduced.  With less “demand” comes less price. The price goes down, not up.

The only people concerned about GMO labeling affecting food prices are the corporations who produce them, who have voluntarily spent tens of millions of dollars to mislead California.   They didn’t spend these millions on behalf of consumers in order to keep prices down.  Quite the opposite.  They sell their defective, experimental “food like substances” which masquerade as the real thing, the natural product.  If they were no longer allowed to hide under the cover of the natural product’s name and image, the prices of these Frankenfoods would plummet!  They would be quite difficult to sell, compared to real, natural, unadulterated crops.  Their seeds would be rejected, as the crops produced with them would fetch less money than crops produced naturally.  Monsanto et. al. would lose money and lots of it.

That’s why they lie to you.  That’s their interest and motivation.  What’s yours?

 

New Indiegogo campaign needs your help to raise $150k for production in the next couple of weeks.  Mariel Hemingway sets out to take on GMOs and Monsanto’s corruption.  Click over to join the effort.