Generation Monsanto (GM): Why We Need Labels on GM Foods

 

#229, June 17, 2010

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

Edited by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins

 

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Quote of the Week

Monsanto's RoundUp "May Have Dire Consequences for Agriculture"

"Ignoring potential non-target detrimental side effects of any chemical, especially used as heavily as glyphosate (Monsanto's RoundUp herbicide), may have dire consequences for agriculture such as rendering soils infertile, crops non-productive, and plants less nutritious. To do so might well compromise not only agricultural sustainability, but also the health and well-being of animals and humans."

- Johal, G.S. and D.M. Huber. Glyphosate effects on diseases of plants. 2009. European Journal of Agronomy 31:144-152

 

Alert of the Week

Generation Monsanto (GM) - Why We Need Labels on GM Foods Now

Gen-M, the first Monsanto Generation of humans force-fed genetically modified foods hasn't reached reproductive age yet (they were born in the late 1990s). But, if a critical mass of animal feeding studies are any indication, the millennial generation, reared on Food Inc.'s unlabeled "Frankenfoods" can look forward to a long-term epidemic of cancer, food allergies, learning disabilities, sterility, and birth defects.

Corn (85% of U.S. production is GM), soy (91% GM), cotton (88% GM), canola (85% GM) and sugar beets (95% GM) are all genetically engineered by Monsanto to withstand massive doses of the company's glyphosate herbicide RoundUp, or else to exude their own pesticide, Bacillus Thuriengensis (Bt). RoundUp, the favorite weedkiller poison of non-organic farmers and gardeners, causes brain, intestinal and heart defects in fetuses. And scientists warn that RoundUp, the most extensively used herbicide in the history of agriculture, "may have dire consequences for agriculture such as rendering soils infertile, crops non-productive, and plants less nutritious." In addition, hundreds of thousands of US dairy cows are injected with genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (developed by Monsanto) in spite of studies linking BGH with cancer, and longstanding bans on the drug in the EU, Japan, Canada, and most industrialized nations.

With genetically modified foods and crops threatening public health and the environment, not to mention the next generation's reproductive capacity, why isn't there a massive consumer outcry to restrain Monsanto's biotech bullying and ban genetically engineered foods and agriculture?

The answer is disturbingly simple. Collusion between Monsanto and elected public officials (including the current Obama Administration) has obscured the fact that almost all non-organic foods in the US contain GMOs. Despite poll after poll indicating that 85-95% of US consumers want mandatory labels on foods containing GMOs, Congress has heretofore listened to Monsanto and corporate agribusiness, rather than their own constituents. In the European Union, Japan, or South Korea, where GM foods must be labeled, there are no GM foods on grocery story shelves (and little or none served in restaurants), since most consumers would not buy them and a significant number would complain if they saw GMO labels on products. Consequently there are very few GM crops being cultivated in the EU (mainly a small amount of corn in Spain for animal feed).

Most Americans simply do not understand that 80% of non-organic supermarket processed foods (basically every product containing soy, corn, canola, cottonseed oil, or sugar beet derivatives) are contaminated with GMOs. While nearly everyone in North America has eaten genetically modified foods, only 26% believe that they have.

People don't think they're eating genetically modified foods because they have no way of knowing whether they are or not. Genetically modified foods aren't labeled.

If we're going to save this generation from reproductive dysfunction and save our farmland from the ravages of RoundUp, we need to stop Monsanto.

The first step is to protect consumers' right to know whether their food is genetically modified.

We need genetically modified food labeled now!

Write your Congresspersons and 2010 candidates for the House and Senate. Tell them to support mandatory labeling of all genetically modified foods.

 

Alert of the Week

Don't Let Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) Repeal the Organic Certification Cost-Share Program

HR 5326, introduced by Congressman Mike Conaway, would repeal the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program

The National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program assists small and mid-sized organic operations in paying for the annual certification process, which is a lengthy, expensive process required for the use of the USDA Organic label. The National Organic Certification Cost-Share Programs provides assistance up to $750 or 75% of the total cost of certification per organic operation.  The Farm Bill provided a total of $22 million to fund this program over 5 years.  This tiny investment helped the organic industry grow at an average rate of 20% per year for several years. In 2009, organic grew by 5% to $26 billion in sales during one of the worst economic downturns in the country's history.

Continued growth in the organic sector requires continued investment through the Cost-Share Program.  Repealing the program would significantly increase the barriers to organic production for farmers by making certification a more expensive process.

Rep. Conaway claims the Cost-Share Program is subsidizing organic "hobby" farmers. However, organic farmers that sell less than $5,000 per year are exempt from certification and the annual inspection process that the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program supports. The Agriculture Census reports that 3,637 of the 14,540 organic farms in America are exempt. The average American organic farm has annual sales of $217,675, much larger than what most people would consider hobby farms.

Organic farms provide multiple benefits to society through the reduction of pesticide loads, the improvement of rural economies, and the provision of healthy foods to Americans. This bill and any future efforts to end the program must be stopped!

 

PLEASE DONATE!

OCA Needs Your Help to Fight Monsanto and Spread the Organic Revolution

OCA and our growing network of organic consumers and farmers understand that we have a positive life-affirming solution for the global food, health, and climate crisis: organic food, farming, and ranching. But to fight Monsanto and Big Food and get out our all-important message we need your support. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today and we'll send you a free "Millions Against Monsanto" bumper sticker so you can help spread the word in your community.

Note: please put "Monsanto Bumper Sticker" in the comment field to receive yours. Thanks!

 

Join Us!

From Copenhagan and Cochabamba to Cancun - Join the OCA at the historic COP 16 Climate Conference

In 1999 and 2003, the OCA helped organize protests and teach-ins against the World Trade Organization in Seattle and Cancun. The "Battle of Seattle", as it came to be known, and subsequent mobilizations were the coming of age of the global grassroots. Now you have the opportunity to join OCA Director Ronnie Cummins and other OCA staff on an escorted delegation to the historic teach-ins and rallies for climate justice and organic agriculture at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico.

Over 100,000 concerned citizens from North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia are expected to converge on Cancun, including leading farm, food, Fair Trade, climate justice, and anti-GE activists. They'll attend a wide range of workshops, forums, and cultural events. Following up on the theme of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, "Another World is Possible," the emphasis in Cancun will be on presenting solutions and alternatives to the climate crisis.

The OCA delegation, limited to 100 people, will include international experts on organic agriculture and climate justice, including OCA Director Ronnie Cummins. The delegation will partner with OCA's Mexico sister organization, Via Organica.

During the week of teach-ins and protests, November 29th to December 10th, the OCA delegation will be housed in comfortable accommodations in the city of Cancun. Costs for a shared double room, meals, seminars, and transport to and from the teach-ins and activities will start around $950 (airfare not included). Private rooms are available for an additional $200.

Call the OCA office (218-226-4164) or click below to reserve your place on the delegation (select "Campaign Manager").

 

Video of the Week

Store Wars: The Organic Rebellion

This entertaining Star Wars spoof, touting organic food and shining a light on the "Dark Side of the Farm" at a "Supermarket Far, Far Away" is one of the many classic and cutting edge videos you'll find in the GM Watch video collection.

 

Go here for more videos check out GM Watch’s Collection of the best videos on genetically modified food and crops.

 

 

Little Bytes

Whole Foods Imposes One-Year Deadline on Brands to Drop Bogus Organic Claims
READ MORE

Monsanto in Your Garden: Why You Need to Buy Organic Seeds
READ MORE

Sugar Industry Acting Like Big Tobacco in its Defense of Hi-Fructose Corn Syrup
READ MORE

Toxic Chemicals in the Gulf Are Just Part of the Corporate Assault on Public Health and the Environment
READ MORE

'Soul Of A Citizen': Does Protecting Our Children Mean Political Action For Them And For Us?
READ MORE

 

LOCAL [[State]] NEWS OF THE WEEK

[[State]] - Get Involved Locally

  • Learn more about OCA related action alerts and other news in [[State]] here.
  • Join [[State]] discussion groups in our forum.
  • Post events in [[State]] on our community calendar.
 

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