Wednesday, April 16, 2014

VERMONT: CLEAN GE FOOD LABELING BILL MOVES AHEAD

The legislation is up for another vote in the Senate Wednesday before it goes back to the House, which passed a slightly different version last year. Gov. Peter Shumlin has indicated he’s likely to sign the bill.
Vermont Senate votes 26-2 for GMO labeling
Vermont one step closer to becoming first state to enact such a law
Apr. 15, 2014

BUR 0415 GMO bill C1
Sen. David Zuckerman ( P-Chittenden), right, talks with legislative counsel Michael O'Grady as the Senate debates the GMO food labeling bill at the Statehouse on Tuesday. / EMILY McMANAMY/FREE PRESS
Written by
Free Press Staff Writer

BUR 0415 GMO bill C2
Sen. Richard Sears,D-Bennington, stands to address the Senate as they debate the GMO food labeling bill at the Statehouse on Tuesday. / EMILY McMANAMY/FREE PRESS
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BUR 0415 GMO bill C4
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott stands before the Senate on Tuesday as they debate the GMO food labeling bill at the Statehouse. / EMILY McMANAMY/FREE PRESS
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MONTPELIER — The Senate gave a decisive 26-2 vote Tuesday for a bill that would require labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, a strong indication that Vermont could become the first state in the nation to enact such a law.
“We are saying people have a right to know what’s in their food,” said Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, D-Windsor.
Campbell and other supporters argued that they believe they have written a bill that is legally defensible. They nonetheless created a fund in the legislation to help pay the state’s legal bills, as many assume that food manufacturers will sue.
The bill would require food sold in Vermont stores that contain genetically modified ingredients to be labeled starting July 2016. The legislation is up for another vote in the Senate Wednesday before it goes back to the House, which passed a slightly different version last year. Gov. Peter Shumlin has indicated he’s likely to sign the bill.
Two other states — Connecticut and Maine — have passed labeling laws, but both delayed implementation until neighboring states join them, a strategy designed to insulate them from being sued. Voters in Washington and California defeated labeling measures there.
Supporters said they hoped Vermont would lead the way on the issue. “Vermont’s always first,” said Will Allen, an organic farmer from Fairlee, citing the state’s ban on slavery, passage of civil unions and same-sex marriage as other firsts.
Many foods, including an estimated 88 percent of the corn crop in the United States, contain ingredients that have plants or animals that were genetically modified, typically to increase disease resistance or extend shelf life. Opponents argue that the process may be harmful to humans. Supporters contend there is no evidence of that. Sixty countries, including the European Union, require labeling.
Sen. David Zuckerman, P/D-Chittenden, noted as he introduced the bill on the Senate floor Tuesday that questions remain about the safety of the genetically modified foods because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relies on testing done by the food producers rather than independent sources.
(Page 2 of 2)

Sens. Peg Flory, R-Rutland, and Norm McAllister, R-Franklin, were the only votes of dissent Tuesday.
Flory, a lawyer, noted that Attorney General Bill Sorrell has said the state is likely to be sued. Senate Judiciary Committe Chairman Richard Sears, D-Bennington, conceded under questioning from Flory that if Vermont loses the case, as it did with a similar law that sought to require labeling of milk containing bovine growth hormones, the legal bills are estimated to be as high as $8 million.
McAllister, a farmer, argued that labeling will do nothing but mislead consumers into believing there must be something bad about GMOs, which he believes is untrue. “This labeling bill will not tell them anything other than ‘GMO something’,” McAllister said. “This does not educate them about what they’re eating. The nutritional value is exactly the same.”
Some senators who had been skeptical of GMO labeling said they were persuaded that their constituents want the information clarified on the food they buy. Senators said they were flooded with emailshttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png and calls from people urging them to pass the bill.
Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, said he came to view labeling of GMOs as akin to the label that tells him how many carbohydrates are in a bottle of tea. That label gives him information without declaring that carbohydrates are evil, he said. “I know what carbohydrates can do to my body,” he said. “Some people in this room that’s exactly how they feel about GMOs.”
Under the bill, Benning said, the wording declaring that a product contains GMOs could be as small as the carbohydrate listing typically found on food packages.
Sen. Bobby Starr, D-Essex/Orleans, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he, too, had been unenthusiastic about GMO labeling, but at every public meeting he heard from Vermonters who wanted a labeling law. “Lo and behold, GMOs would float to the top of the debate within those meetings,” he said.
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Contact Terri Hallenbeck at 999-9994 or thallenbeck@freepressmedia.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FORMER EPA BIOSAFETY SCIENTIST Dr. Ramon J. Seidler DEBUNKS GE TECHNOLOGY CLAIMS

   April 14, 2014

Image courtesy of Organic Consumers

Moderator’s Note: Since 1992, when I joined the Board of Directors of the Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG),[1] I have carefully monitored scientific developments related to the predictive ecology and public health and environmental health impacts of transgenic technologies.  Throughout this period, there have been very few moments when former or current EPA, USDA, or FDA scientists served as ‘whistleblowers’ on  the dismal and ultimately unscientific processes these federal agencies rely on to review and approve GMO crops.
Yesterday was one of those profound moments when a former EPA biosafety scientist by the name of Ramon J. Seidler revealed that scientists – including government employees – have long had multiple problems with GMOs. Dr. Seidler is a professor of microbiology and a retired senior scientist and team leader for the Environmental Protection Agency’s biosafety program.
This is dramatic news and comes in the midst of a gathering in Jackson County, Oregon addressing a countywide ban on the planting of GMO seed beets and seed grasses by Monsanto and Syngenta. The May 20 ballot is a pivotal moment in the struggle against GMOs in the Pacific Northwest and comes as Monsanto and its allies continue to pressure Congress to pass legislation banning state-level labeling laws requiring identification of GMO crops and processed food ingredients.

Just this past Thursday, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) introduced legislation to the House for a Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014 (a.k.a. HR 4432) The industry-supported legislation would “amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to food produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered organism, the labeling of natural foods…”

The Jackson County election could become a vital turning point in the strategy of the nonGMO and pro-sustainable and organic farming communities because it seeks to address the production of GMO seed rather than the consumption of GMO foods. This shifts the focus from the equally important right of the consumer to know their food through labeling to the establishment of GMO-free farming communities inside zones designed to protect key bioregions involved in the invaluable production of heirloom native and naturalized gene lines for all commercial food, fodder, turf, orchard, and bramble cultivars.

In an article dated April 13, 2014 and appearing in the Ashland, Oregon-based newspaper, Daily Tribune, Dr. Seidler punctures holes in nearly every major industry-articulated argument made in defense of GMOs. For example, the former EPA scientist affirms what a growing number of scientists have been arguing for decades – including CRG and more recently the Center for Food Safety and the Biosafety Alliance – that GMO crops do not have a significant increased yield compared to conventional nonGMO or organic crops.

Another key point made by Dr. Seidler is that the patenting system that undergirds the development of GMO technology actually “stifles research” which contradicts biotechnology industry claims that patents are necessary to conduct research and promote innovation. I have been making this same argument in this blog since 2006 and the most significant research I believe is being stifled is related to the development of the agroecology paradigm. But Dr. Seidler declares that he is “…deeply troubled to report that promises of patent enforcement by American agrichemical seed companies have prevented U.S. scientists from researching what some exclaim are ‘problems’ associated with GMO crops.” In other words, agrichemical seed companies are using patents to block research on environmental risks, productivity, and public health.

There are several other important rebuttals offered by Dr. Seidler but these two points  should suffice to retract the unwise, unscientific, and highly politicized federal and state governmental support for transgenic technologies. As Seidler notes, quoting the chief technology officer for Monsanto, “American farmers are smart and wouldn’t adapt a technology that didn’t have tangible benefits.” And so, what? The USDA, a veritable subsidiary of Monsanto et al., went ahead and promoted the technology anyway despite scientists’ warnings to governmental authorities during both Republican and Democratic administrations since the 1990s.
The writing is now more clearly on the wall: Monsanto seems desperate and dead in the water. Since August 2013, hedge fund managers and even some Monsanto executives have dumped the company’s stock.  Other large institutional investors are under increasing pressure to divest from Monsanto, Syngenta, and other biotech stocks and these trends will likely increase as transgenic technology failures become the focus of attention in the socially responsible investment community.
The principal reason for these corporate troubles is the persistent record of failure of transgenic and post-transgenic technologies (i.e., RNA interference). The same will happen with the upcoming replacements for glyphosate and Bt Cry protein applications. These ‘second generation’ stacked-traits transgenic crops are touted as a movement toward a futuristic sustainable agriculture but instead constitute a perverse back-to-the-future nightmare scenario: The second gen transgenic technologies involve returning to older and even more deadly biocides like the case of a new genetically engineered (GE) soybean crop called FG72 produced by Bayer CropScience that will be paired with Isoxaflutole (isox), a pesticide the EPA classified as a human carcinogen in 1998 (see our post of September 5, 2013).
This is the same pesticide that Syngenta proposes for use on their U.S. soybeans. Dr. Seidler also reports “scientists predict…isox use will greatly accelerate and…become one of the new controversial poisons used on our foods.” He wonders “if Syngenta will conduct exploratory experiments [in Jackson County, Oregon] with sugarbeets using isox or 2,4-D.” Syngenta currently uses land in Jackson County to produce glyphosate-resistant seeds for Midwest sugarbeet plantations.
The EPA, USDA, and FDA – all with somewhat overlapping and contradictory regulatory processes – are captive to serving these narrow corporate interests with their constant need to amplify and modify the scientific, legal, and political economic frameworks that prevent scientists from the conduct of accurate and independent (preferably professional third party) verification of all relevant cumulative risk and environmental justice impacts of GMO crops including all new pending transgenic and post-transgenic technologies.
As a service to our readers, we are reposting Ramon J. Seidler’s article. The original source is here: The Ashland Tribune.

Image courtesy of Our Family Farms Coalition
Scientists find multiple problems with GMOs

Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D. |  Jackson County, Oregon | April 13, 2014

“GMO seeds have not been shown to definitively increase yield potentials” and “in fact, the yields of herbicide-tolerant or insect-resistant seeds may be occasionally lower than the yields of conventional varieties.”
A February 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture report declared what many scientists already knew: There are no significant differences in yields of GMO and non-GMO crops. When asked about the USDA report, the chief technology officer for Monsanto declared, “American farmers are smart and wouldn’t adapt a technology that didn’t have tangible benefits.”
Are the USDA and scientists around the world wrong in their conclusion about failure to yield? No.
Agroeconomists have shown repeatedly that the best-yielding, most-affordable crop varieties, to “feed the world”, are those derived from conventional non-GMO hybrids (U.N Commission on Trade and Development).
Furthermore, CNBC’s chief news correspondent, Mark Koba, quoted Mark Spitznagel, the chief investment officer of a billion-dollar investment firm, as saying GMOs are “distorting the natural process and will eventually lead to ruin,” and, “Agriculture is heading for a wall.”
Patented GMO crops stifle research
As a lifelong scientist, I am deeply troubled to report that promises of patent enforcement by American agrichemical seed companies have prevented U.S. scientists from researching what some exclaim are “problems” associated with GMO crops. We will not know the facts as long as the seeds and plants that we, our children, pets and livestock consume are not made available for conducting long-term, controlled experiments.
Norwegian scientists recently detected Roundup in 10 of 10 farms using genetically engineered soybeans. We had to also learn from these Norwegian (not American) scientists that the nutritional composition of soybeans grown on 31 Ohio farms differed depending upon the type of farm management system employed. Soybeans harvested from organic farms had higher concentrations of protein and essential amino acids, and higher concentrations of two minerals, and no Roundup residues (Food Chem. 2014).
Now we know from the scientific literature that the same concentrations of Roundup residues in soybeans is sufficient in laboratory assays to: induce hormone disruptions during frog development (mixed-sex frogs); kill young trout and tadpoles; stop the growth of earthworms in soil; inhibit activities of beneficial soil and human gut bacteria; and stimulate the growth of human breast-cancer cells assayed under laboratory conditions.
Toxin-resistant corn rootworm outbreaks are plaguing at least five Midwest corn-growing states, and the problems are related to failures in GMO management techniques (Proceedings, National Academy of Sciences, March 2014). An entomology professor from Cornell stated resistance problems could have been resolved sooner if Monsanto had allowed American scientists access to investigate and confirm the presence of the toxin-resistant insects (http://wrd.cm/1qogw9e).
A premier seed-growing location
Syngenta, a foreign corporation, is here in Jackson County producing Roundup-resistant seeds for Midwest sugarbeet plantations. The history of this agrochemical corporation goes deep to the first productions of DDT, 2,4-D, and manufacture of the controversial herbicide, Atrazine. This history seems consistent with the recent announcement that Syngenta will use a probable carcinogen, isoxaflutole (isox) initially on their U.S. soybeans. Scientists predict that isox use will greatly accelerate and will soon become one of the new controversial poisons used on our foods. One can only wonder if Syngenta will conduct exploratory experiments locally with sugarbeets using isox or 2,4-D.
More secrecy
Unfortunately, seed buyers have canceled local Swiss chard contracts because of the likelihood of cross-pollination by sugar beets. Sugar beet pollen travels two to four miles (Beta Seed Company, Oregon) and cross-pollination is likely with chard because GMO farms are usually secretly located. Syngenta contributes little to the local economy, while closing down business opportunities of permanent, local, tax-paying American farmers. Since glyphosate is already in our urine, air and rain, it was frightening to learn one of the known Syngenta crop farms is situated in proximity to two of Ashland’s schools.
I, personally, resent this intrusion since my stepdaughter is a student at this school. She doesn’t have the opportunity to know when the Roundup-containing hormone disruptor(s) will be flying through the air and be inhaled by young, developing students. Residents can take control of these insensitive practices by voting yes on 15-119 to return local control to where it belongs, here in Jackson County, not in Salem, not in Washington, D.C., and certainly not in Switzerland.
Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D., of Ashland, is a professor of microbiology and a retired senior scientist and team leader for the Environmental Protection Agency’s biosafety program.



[1] Disclaimer: I served on the Board of Directors of the CRG between 1992-2002.
Source:  
http://ejfood.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 14, 2014

WILL WALMART-IZATION OF ORGANICS HELP OR HURT ORGANIC FARMERS?

Organic Food: It's Not Just for Yuppies Anymore

Walmart's new organic products line can debunk the myth that the poor choose Nikes over fancy grapes. Because they don't

A man who applies pesticides to Iowa fields for $14 hour might not seem a likely organic enthusiast. But when I met Jim Dreyer last fall, and he mentioned the backyard patch he and his wife had planted with vegetables in the spring, he told me he didn’t use any pesticides. When I asked him why, Dreyer surprised me: “I don’t want to eat that shit,” he said. When I went grocery shopping with his wife, Christina, she surprised me, too, by picking out a bag of organic grapes even though she was paying with Snap – food stamps – for exactly the same reason.
I thought about Jim and Christina last week, and my surprise at their organic habits, after Walmart announced it will be adding 100 new organic products to its shelves this month. For as long as I can remember, "organic" has been synonymous with affluence and conscious consumption. Partly, that’s because organic foods are typically 30% more expensivethan conventional items. But part of it is our assumption about who exactly buys organic and why. Typically, it hasn’t been families like the Dreyers, who are raising three kids on Jim’s $14 an hour and can't really afford it. So we tend to think that people who buy organic food are part of a select group: urban, well-meaning, affluent, educated “foodies”.
This is a pernicious myth. In reality, the poor actually consider organic food moreimportant than the rich, according to top researchers – and organic isn’t a “select” phenomenon at all. Three-quarters of American shoppers buy organic food at least occasionally and more than a third do so monthly, according to industry analysis by the Hartman Group. When researchers asked why shoppers didn’t buy organic more often, two-thirds said it was because of the higher price.
And yet the myth that only the rich buy organic persists, driven by a kind of circular logic that conflates preference (valuing organic) with behavior (actually buying it). The cost of organic food keeps the poorest families from buying it often, and since only the wealthy can easily afford organic food, the only people we see buying it are wealthy. That, in turn, makes organic food into a norm for the rich, and a treat for the rest of us.
Organic enthusiasts rarely help to clarify the situation, with some of the most prominent leaders making painfully tone-deaf comments about shoppers’ priorities. In 2008, just as the economy began to tank, respected chef and food advocate Alice Waters argued that shoppers make the choice between organic grapes and “Nike shoes – two pairs”, arguably adding to the perception that the poor simply do not prefer organic food.
As Walmart’s market researchers well know, the poor actually do care about organic. The biggest supermarket chain in America, Walmart has a customer base among the country’s poor and working class. The company estimates that 18% of Snap is spent in its stores, according to a recent series by Slate and Marketplace on the retailer – enough that it currently lists changes to public assistance programs as a potential liability for investors.
Meanwhile, organic food has been one of the retailer’s strongest categories of sales, says Marketplace’s Krissy Clark, who reported the Walmart series. “It makes sense to focus on the growth area,” she told me recently. And with cuts to public assistance from the farm bill going into effect, Clark added, the new organic line could attract “higher income consumers who are also feeling a squeeze, and maybe have reasons they wouldn’t shop at Walmart. This gives them incentive.”
While Walmart made a failed bid at going upscale a few years ago, its new organic line might have better luck. That’s because the new products will be branded under Wild Oats, a longstanding natural foods brand that Whole Foods bought and then resold in the 2000s. (Whole Foods sold the brand after a federal court ruled the merger violated anti-trust laws.) With the glimmer of brand-name recognition that Wild Oats could inspire, middle- and upper-income shoppers may be persuaded to take a closer look at Walmart. And the prices seem low enough to fit the modest shopper's budget: a can of Whole Foods’ 365 organic corn sells for $1.29 at my local Brooklyn store, but Walmart plans to sell Wild Oats vegetables for 88 cents a can.
Where I live, I can pick from Whole Foods and farmers markets, not to mention food cooperatives that offer organic food affordably, so Walmart’s move doesn’t mean much for folks like me. And precisely what the new line will mean systemwide – how Walmart’s massive scale will affect for organic farmers and prices throughout the market – remains to be seen. But for families like the Dreyers, who – like an estimated 15% of Walmart’sown workers – work hard and yet still need Snap to pay for food, it offers something new: an organic option they can afford. And it reminds me that I never should have been surprised that they’d want one in the first place.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

IS ANYTHING OR ANYONE ON EARTH "ROUNDUP READY?"

Exposing Monsanto’s RoundUp and Glyphosate: Human Blood is Not ‘RoundUp Ready’

Christina Sarich
by 
March 5th, 2014
Updated 03/05/2014 at 1:16 am
roundup toxic 263x164 Exposing Monsantos RoundUp and Glyphosate: Human Blood is Not ‘RoundUp Ready’
PHOTO CREDIT: sustainablepulse.com.
new study published in Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology entitled, “The effect of metabolites and impurities of glyphosate on human erythrocytes (in vitro)”, explains just how RoundUp chemicals are invading our human blood. It is so bad that few in the agricultural community will admit just how potent the combination of these chemicals truly is. They are contaminating our entire biosphere, and the continuation of GMO crops will only add to the growing toxicity levels since they require ever more use of weed-killers, herbicides, and pesticides to continue to be viable.
Just try to escape from glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) – the main ingredient in Round Up, Monsanto’s best selling poison. It is utterly toxic, in the parts per trillion range. Even infinitesimally small amounts of this stuff can cause cancer, inhibit proper endocrine function, cause birth defects, and inflict infertility upon unsuspecting women.
The weed-killer has been found in people’s blood in 18 different countries, but glyphosate isn’t the only problem. The ‘inactive’ ingredients are just as harmful, making ‘RoundUp Ready’ chemicals a toxic blood-venom none of us can ignore.
For example, rats fed Monsanto’s maize developed massive breast tumors in the first-ever lifetime feeding study published last year. Other recently published studies demonstrate glyphosate’s toxicity to cell lines, aquatic life, food animals, and humans – such as damaging human embryo cells.
The background context of the new study are described:
“Today, the dissemination of glyphosate in the environment increases, and humans are permanently exposed to its action. Worst case scenario provides even ten-fold increase of using a glyphosate in the following years [32]. Considering the widespread and frequent use of glyphosate throughout in world, thus the current risk assessment is important because the exposure will concern not only the users of the preparations containing glyphosate, but also those who do not have direct contact with that herbicide.”
Human red blood cells (erythrocytes) were used by the researchers to determine the true damage that glyphosate and its metabolites aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA); methylphosphonic acid and its impurities: N-(phosphonomethyl)iminodiacetic acid (PMIDA), N-methylglyphosate, hydroxymethylphosphonic acid, and bis-(phosphonomethyl)amine assert on one of the body’s most important components.
The following indicators of damage were measured:
  • Hemolysis (the rupturing of red blood cells).
  • Hemoglobin oxidation (oxygen-induced damage to the central metalloprotein within red blood cells).
  • Levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation (an indication of oxygen-induced damage).
  • Changes in shape of red blood cells.

The Study and Toxic Effects

Researchers exposed participants’ blood to different levels of glyphosate consistent with the ranges and concentrations which have already been well established in our drinking water, air, soil and food – between .01-5 millimolar (mM) for 1, 4, and 24 hours. The authors explain that their choice of ranges “are within the range of the concentrations that are present in the blood of persons not exposed (.01 mM) or may enter human organism only as a result of acute poisoning (0.05–5 mM)”. For example, California currently allows 1000 times more glyphosate in their drinking water than has been proven to cause breast cancer.
Meanwhile, the U.S. EPA has proposed to hike allowable limits of glyphosate in GMO crops and in animal feed from 100 parts per million (ppm) to 400 ppm, essentially telling all of us, “Let Them Eat Roundup Ready Cake.”
Even living near a farm that uses glyphosate can expose someone to levels that are deadly. And certainly farmers that are exposed to the chemical are in danger, quite possibly explaining the recent rash of mysterious fatal kidney disease all over the globe linked to none other than RoundUp use.
The authors also explained their choice of red blood cells for toxicological evaluation: “Damage to erythrocytes is widely used as indicator of toxicity of numerous xenobiotics. Pesticides, drugs and other toxic compounds are transported by blood of living organisms, thus they enter red blood cells.”
Strangely, the results which the researchers published showed ‘negligibly statistically significant’ damage to hemogblobin.
“In summary, our results indicate that glyphosate, its metabolites and impurities in the concentrations examined induced slightly significant effects on human erythrocytes. The investigated metabolites and impurities caused a slight stronger damage to human erythrocytes than glyphosate.”
The study minimizes the use of glyphosate and does not include the significance of other chemicals in RoundUp. There is a synergistic and cumulative toxicity level that this particular concoction can cause. The ‘other’ ingredients cannot be ignored, and used in connection with glyphosate itself can cause over 40 different adverse health conditions.
The researchers do at least admit a previous study noted glyphosate forumalations – meaning the whole of the RoundUp product – can indicate
“. . . a higher toxicity than the active substance itself. Earlier research provided by Pieniazek et al. [22] showed that glyphosate at the concentration of 1500 ppm (corresponding to 9 mM) after 24 h incubation with human erythrocytes induced hemolysis of about 3%. Additionally, Bukowska et al. [52] reported that Roundup Ultra 360 SL provoked slightly stronger changes in the function of the erythrocytes than its active substance glyphosate, which was probably a result of its additives. Roundup Ultra 360 SL caused slight hemolysis of human erythrocytes, but the differences were statistically significant starting at the concentration of 1500 ppm after 1 h of incubation and at 500 ppm after 24 h of incubation.”
Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/human-blood-round-ready/#ixzz2ygx5ZWKl
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SHADES OF RACHEL CARSON: BRAZIL BANS GLYPHOSATE

Article image

Sorry
Monsanto,

Brazil's Federal

Public Prosecutor

Demands Ban on

All Glyphosate Poisons

Christina Saritch  NATURAL SOCIETY / News Report  Published Friday April 11, 2014

Just last week, the Federal Appeals Court in Brazil unanimously decided to cancel Bayer’s Liberty Link GM Maize. Thanks to the BRICs nations, biotech just might get a run for their money and have to stop poisoning the world.
A full suspension of the toxic main ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp, glyphosate, is being demanded by the Brazilian Federal Public Prosecutor in the Federal District. It is currently the most commonly used herbicide in Brazil, and negatively affects numerous crops, as well as human and ecosystem health.
Just one study conducted in Brazil on ‘glyphosate-resistant’ soybeans has shown some reprehensible results from utilizing Monsanto’s favorite venom. Brazil is currently the second largest producer of soybeans in the world, and sadly, they are almost entirely now GMO. More than 70% of soybeans cultivated in the country are from GE glyphosate-tolerant seed. A mere five states are responsible for 80% of Brazil’s soybean production; Rio Grande do Sul and Parana in the south, and Mato Grosso, GoĆ®as, and Mato Grosso do Sul in the center-west region.
The Federal Prosecutor has asked for all glyphosate herbicide use to be suspended due to questions about its chemical makeup. The Prosecutor is calling into question 2,4-D as well as the active ingredients methyl parathion, lactofem, phorate, carbofuran, abamectin, tiram, and paraquat. Why? The inactive ingredients can be just as, if not more toxic. A study published in Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology entitled, “The effect of metabolites and impurities of glyphosate on human erythrocytes (in vitro),” explains just how RoundUp chemicals are invading our human blood.
 “The first measure seeks to compel the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) to reevaluate the toxicity of eight active ingredients suspected of causing damage to human health and the environment. On another front, the agency questions the registration of pesticides containing 2,4-D herbicide, applied to combat broadleaf weed.” 
Due to these concerns, two actions have been filed by the Brazilian Prosecutor. He explains on his website.
The actions also request that the Ministry of Agriculture as well as Livestock and Supply (MAPA) suspend the registration of glyphosate products until a conclusion about their safety is reached by ANVISA. The civil lawsuit contesting the registration of the herbicide also asks that the National Biosafety Technical Commission (CTNBio) restrict the commercialization of the transgenic, GMO seed.
Just last week, the Federal Appeals Court in Brazil unanimously decided to cancel Bayer’s Liberty Link GM Maize. Thanks to the BRICs nations, biotech just might get a run for their money and have to stop poisoning the world.

THE DISTRACTION - NON-SOLUTION OF GOLDEN RICE

Article image

Let 
Them 
Eat Rice  

Jill Richardson  OP ED Published April 12, 2014




The gusher of money, time and resources wasted on one genetically engineered crop imbued with a single vitamin could have solved some easier-to-fix problems behind worldwide hunger.
A recent Scientific American blog post blamed environmentalists for costing poor, malnourished people an estimated 1,424,000 life years in India alone. Why? Because they presumably kept Golden Rice off the market for over a decade when it could have been helping the world’s poor during that time.
Golden Rice contains beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. Rice doesn’t normally contain beta-carotene. Golden rice was created by genetic engineering: Scientists inserted genes from another species into its DNA.
According to that post by David Ropeik, Golden Rice was ready to go back in 2002, if it weren’t for those meddling tree-huggers. But, back then, you’d have to eat 20 pounds of the rice every day just to get a sufficient amount of vitamin A in your diet from it.
That said, after visiting peasant farmers on four continents, I’ve got a new perspective on hunger, malnutrition, and Golden Rice’s potential.The technology has since improved. Now, someone could actually obtain their needed vitamins by eating a realistic amount of the colorful rice. But it’s dishonest to claim that lives were lost or harmed by not eating Golden Rice starting in 2002.
When I travel, I always ask families what they eat. In the Philippines, without fail, every family responded, “Rice.”

Just rice? An entire diet of rice? Hmm, maybe they need that Golden Rice.

Eventually, I tried a new approach: “What do you eat with your rice?”
The answer? Lots of things. Eggplant, bananas, squash, beans, taro, okra, sweet potatoes – even vitamin A-rich sweet potato leaves.
In Kenya, I’ve visited areas where the staple was white corn, not rice. Yet, like rice, white corn is not known for its abundance of vitamin A. But nobody I’ve met eats just corn. They eat beans, kale, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and an abundance of African greens. You see kale growing all over, even in urban slums. And it contains about two and a half times as much vitamin A as Golden Rice.
Nobody I have met in developing countries gets vitamin A from eating staple grains. Neither do Americans. Like us, they eat varied diets full of fruits and vegetables, many of which are rich in vitamin A.
Vitamin A isn’t rare in food. And it’s not the only nutrient that malnourished people worldwide lack.
The malnourished people I met in my travels did not only lack this nutrient or that one – they simply lacked food. Like a Kenyan school where many kids did without breakfast and lunch every day. Some had to work in a quarry after school just to earn money to eat. Good bet those kids needed vitamin A — and every other vitamin, mineral, protein, fat, and just plain old calories.
Golden Rice isn’t the best solution in such cases. It’s solving the root causes of poverty and hunger. That means ending injustice and corruption, providing access to water, secure land tenure, and birth control, taking on the climate crisis, and dealing with HIV/AIDS, among other things.
Big Ag and biotech firms spent more than two decades developing Golden Rice. That gusher of money, time, and resources could have solved some of the broader, overarching, and easy-to-fix problems peasant farmers face.
By focusing on the real, underlying problems instead of a narrowly defined nutrient deficiency, countless numbers of people could have enjoyed a higher standard of living.
Instead, biotech companies and people like Ropeik, who has ties to the biotech industry, attempt to reframe the debate as one about Golden Rice.
Golden Rice is simply a distraction the biotech industry dreamed up. It’s an expensive, non-solution to a serious problem and it’s merely designed to improve the image of other controversial genetically engineered crops in bigger markets, including the United States.