Various three and four letter government agencies have responsibility to tax payers to inspect businesses that have direct impact on the health of the citizens. At their discretion, unsafe, unhealthy and life threatening diseases and microbes are kept away from the public food supply. They are also charged with monitoring air and water quality and warning the public of unsafe conditions therein. It is our elected representatives who insure these tasks are carried out in a vigilant manner. The approval ratings of Congress and the Senate are justifiable reasons for concern over their responsibility in this task.
Not long ago these representatives saw fit to make it illegal for citizens to sue a company directly involved in the agricultural production of more than 75% of the USA domestic corn crop. This story has made more than a subtle impact on the citizen’s perception of government agencies and our elected officials. With sizable campaign contributions in hand from this agricultural and chemical giant, an elected representative of the United States Government, Roy Blunt penned legislation that prevented lawsuits against the company Monsanto. Dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act”, and passed as the Farmer Assurance Provision under Sec. 735 of the Senate Spending Bill, not only was this law written, it was passed by both sides of the aisle. Also telling is the appointment to positions in the FDA as well as Supreme Court of the United States. Michael Taylor and Clarence Thomas, both former counsel for Monsanto who are now respectively, the head of the FDA and a Justice on the Supreme Court.
The “law” expired in September 2013, but the evidence of this government corruption has lived on in outrage with citizens everywhere. When the ‘provision’ came up for ‘renewal’, the citizens of the alternative media made it clear it would not be tolerated.
“Short-term appropriations bills are not an excuse for Congress to grandfather in bad policy,” said Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety.
The point of contention is about GMOs (genetically modified organics). These seeds are patented and sold exclusively by Monsanto to farmers all over the world. The seeds themselves may be harmless to human physiology, but it is the ‘treatment’ they are exposed to enable their growth that is the cause for concern. Weeds and pests can be more than a minor problem as any gardener will attest. This is a thing of the past for GMO crops. The seeds are ‘designed’ for the crop to resist herbicides and pesticides applied to fields, obtained through Monsanto; notably ‘Roundup’. This poison is available in garden shops every where and marketed as a weed killer with no peer. “A GMO is the result of a lab process in which genes from one plant’s DNA are injected into another plant’s DNA, with the goal of increasing yields, reducing disease, or creating some other resistance.” Monsanto commercial seeds are marketed as “Roundup Ready”. Monsanto also distributed Agent Orange, the exfoliant used to obliterate vegetation in the jungle of Vietnam. Numerous veterans suffer the effects of exposure and huge court cases were settled.
Senate Bill #37; the GMO labeling bill, was narrowly defeated in California, one of the largest agricultural producers in the world. Similar bills have made better results in other states. The general requirement is that any product derived from GMO crops must be labeled as such. If you are using corn syrup, it is likely GMO derived. Processed food is where this becomes complicated. It is not the crop; it is the chemicals used to grow it that are a danger. Lab rats fed only GMO derived corn developed huge tumors. As cattle are typically raised in feed lots and fed corn and grains, what should we know about our beef?
Anti GMO Legislation is being supported in Applegate Valley, near Medford, Oregon. “Measure 17-58 on the May ballot would ban the planting or growing in Josephine County of any plant with DNA that has been altered by technology”. (GMOs). “It affects everybody, if you can spray Roundup on something and it doesn’t die; Eating that is utterly detrimental to humans” said Sam Pennington of Pennington Farms. He doesn’t grow GMO crops. Not only do these farmers oppose GMO crops, they have to oppose adjacent GMO planting as the crops can be cross pollinated. There is nearly $800,000 in outside funding from the opposition against the Jackson county measure including that from Monsanto, Syngenta and Midwest sugar beet growers. A court battle is almost a certainty if the measure passes; David vs. Goliath over food safety.
Chuck Burr, president of the Southern Oregon Seed Association, sells 600 varieties of seeds through his business, Restoration Seeds, most of which he buys from other growers. “I’m just one farmer. There are 160 farmers who signed onto this measure,” he said. “Any of us who grow beets or chard, we’re very concerned. Contamination is unavoidable. The best solution is to eliminate the pollen source from the valley. That solves the problem.” The Southern Oregon Seed Association was formed to finance genetic testing of seeds. The intent is to eliminate the GMO crop infestation which occurs through pollination from adjacent GMO fields. “GMOs make up the vast majority of corn, cotton, soybeans, canola and sugar beets grown in the United States, and smaller percentages of other crops.”
Local restaurants and some food chains now tout GMO-free menu items. Tourist and locals ask for GMO free vegetables in increasing numbers. Russia and China both have recently refused to buy GMO crops produced in the United States. GMO crops are banned in many European nations. The United States produces more agriculture for world food than many nations. On a long term survival level, shouldn’t our Country’s agriculture business be listening to it’s citizens and customers?