Wednesday, September 8, 2010


S 510 is hissing in the grass
Posted on April 24, 2010 by Rady

By Steve Green

S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, may be the most dangerous bill in the history of the US. It is to our food what the bailout was to our economy, only we can live without money.

“If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.” ~Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistleblower

It is similar to what India faced with imposition of the salt tax during British rule, only S 510 extends control over all food in the US, violating the fundamental human right to food.

Monsanto says it has no interest in the bill and would not benefit from it, but Monsanto’s Michael Taylor who gave us rBGH and unregulated genetically modified (GM) organisms, appears to have designed it and is waiting as an appointed Food Czar to the FDA (a position unapproved by Congress) to administer the agency it would create — without judicial review — if it passes. S 510 would give Monsanto unlimited power over all US seed, food supplements, food and farming.

In the 1990s, Bill Clinton introduced HACCP (Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Points) purportedly to deal with contamination in the meat industry. Clinton’s HACCP delighted the offending corporate (World Trade Organization “WTO”) meat packers since it allowed them to inspect themselves, eliminated thousands of local food processors (with no history of contamination), and centralized meat into their control. Monsanto promoted HACCP.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton, urged a powerful centralized food safety agency as part of her campaign for president. Her advisor was Mark Penn, CEO of Burson Marsteller*, a giant PR firm representing Monsanto. Clinton lost, but Clinton friends such as Rosa DeLauro, whose husband’s firm lists Monsanto as a progressive client and globalization as an area of expertise, introduced early versions of S 510.
S 510 fails on moral, social, economic, political, constitutional, and human survival grounds.

1. It puts all US food and all US farms under Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, in the event of contamination or an ill-defined emergency. It resembles the Kissinger Plan.

2. It would end US sovereignty over its own food supply by insisting on compliance with the WTO, thus threatening national security. It would end the Uruguay Round Agreement Act of 1994, which put US sovereignty and US law under perfect protection. Instead, S 510 says:


Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party.

3. It would allow the government, under Maritime Law, to define the introduction of any food into commerce (even direct sales between individuals) as smuggling into “the United States.” Since under that law, the US is a corporate entity and not a location, “entry of food into the US” covers food produced anywhere within the land mass of this country and “entering into” it by virtue of being produced.

4. It imposes Codex Alimentarius on the US, a global system of control over food. It allows the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the WTO to take control of every food on earth and remove access to natural food supplements. Its bizarre history and its expected impact in limiting access to adequate nutrition (while mandating GM food, GM animals, pesticides, hormones, irradiation of food, etc.) threatens all safe and organic food and health itself, since the world knows now it needs vitamins to survive, not just to treat illnesses.

5. It would remove the right to clean, store and thus own seed in the US, putting control of seeds in the hands of Monsanto and other multinationals, threatening US security. See Seeds – How to criminalize them, for more details.

6. It includes NAIS, an animal traceability program that threatens all small farmers and ranchers raising animals. The UN is participating through the WHO, FAO, WTO, and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in allowing mass slaughter of even heritage breeds of animals and without proof of disease. Biodiversity in farm animals is being wiped out to substitute genetically engineered animals on which corporations hold patents. Animal diseases can be falsely declared. S 510 includes the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), despite its corrupt involvement in the H1N1 scandal, which is now said to have been concocted by the corporations.

7. It extends a failed and destructive HACCP to all food, thus threatening to do to all local food production and farming what HACCP did to meat production – put it in corporate hands and worsen food safety.

8. It deconstructs what is left of the American economy. It takes agriculture and food, which are the cornerstone of all economies, out of the hands of the citizenry, and puts them under the total control of multinational corporations influencing the UN, WHO, FAO and WTO, with HHS, and CDC, acting as agents, with Homeland Security as the enforcer. The chance to rebuild the economy based on farming, ranching, gardens, food production, natural health, and all the jobs, tools and connected occupations would be eliminated.

9. It would allow the government to mandate antibiotics, hormones, slaughterhouse waste, pesticides and GMOs. This would industrialize every farm in the US, eliminate local organic farming, greatly increase global warming from increased use of oil-based products and long-distance delivery of foods, and make food even more unsafe. The five items listed — the Five Pillars of Food Safety — are precisely the items in the food supply which are the primary source of its danger.

10. It uses food crimes as the entry into police state power and control. The bill postpones defining all the regulations to be imposed; postpones defining crimes to be punished, postpones defining penalties to be applied. It removes fundamental constitutional protections from all citizens in the country, making them subject to a corporate tribunal with unlimited power and penalties, and without judicial review. It is (similar to C-6 in Canada) the end of Rule of Law in the US.

For further information, watch these videos:

Food Laws – Forcing people to globalize

State Imposed Violence … to snatch resources of ordinary people

Corporate Rule

Reclaiming Economies

Oak snake image at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park, Florida

Ed. Note: Also see this piece by lawyers: Food Safety: The Worst of Both Bills (HR 2749 and S 510).


EXTRACT: "No new data relating to the environmental and economic risks that transgenic salmon will pose if they escape into the wild was included in the materials released today."


FDA's Incomplete Data Release is "Too Little, Too Late"

Fails to Uphold President Obama’s Call for Openness and Transparency


Washington DC - A broad coalition of consumer and environmental groups, along with commercial and recreational fisheries associations, chefs, and food retailers, declared today’s partial data release by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the genetically engineered salmon up for approval as a human food product insufficient and unacceptable.

"For the millions of consumers, fishermen, and stakeholders who will be affected by the FDA's decision, FDA's release of incomplete information today is simply too little, too late," said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Center for Food Safety. "FDA's fundamentally flawed process flies directly in the face of President Obama's executive order for openness and transparency in government."

Materials made available today on FDA’s website relate to an announcement by FDA officials on August 25 that the agency will potentially approve the long-shelved AquAdvantage transgenic salmon as the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption.

The data provided by FDA today is rather scant given that the FDA has had 10 years to review the product. The study on changes in the morphology of the new GE salmon involved only 12 fish. The limited study on possible allergic reactions involved only 6 fertile GE fish and 6 infertile fish.

These small sample sizes are inadequate for a full review of the health and safety of these fish when they are raised in a commercial operation. Rather than tell the company to run new studies with adequate samples sizes, the FDA is recommending the fish not be raised in the US, but that the eggs be produced in Canada and the fish be grown in Panama and imported into the US.

The GE Atlantic salmon under consideration was developed by AquaBounty Technologies, which artificially combined growth hormone genes from an unrelated Pacific salmon, (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) with DNA from the anti-freeze genes of an eelpout (Zoarces americanus). This modification causes continuous production of growth-hormone year-round, creating a fish the company claims grows to full size at twice the normal rate of non-GE farmed salmon. This could allow factory fish farms to crowd fish and still get high production rates despite the stressful conditions found there.

While some materials released today relate to the transfer of the genes and DNA construct, and the chemistry of small samples of the flesh of the GE fish were compared to that of other farmed salmon, no data from long-term clinical feeding trials were required.

"Without the required testing and safety data we have no way to prove the transgenic salmon is safe to eat," said Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at Consumers Union.

Moreover, while the FDA is only recommending approval of sterile females for meat, the data released today show that up to 5 percent of the eggs produced may be fertile. They did not list what protocols they will require of the company to assure that only infertile eggs are shipped to produce the salmon. Moreover, there is no discussion of potential sex changes in the fish.

One of the most serious issues regarding AquaBounty's GE salmon is that FDA currently has no adequate means to assess the fish as a GE animal intended as a human food product. Rather than developing an appropriate evaluation method, FDA is currently proceeding to approve the GE fish through its process for reviewing a new animal drug.

"By choosing to use the animal drug process for reviewing this GE fish, basic health and safety data was kept a secret until just before the hearing on its approval,' said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. 'It is outrageous to keep this vital information secret - consumers have a right to know what FDA is trying to allow into our food supply."

Additionally, the materials released by FDA may not include anything claimed by AquaBounty as "confidential business information.”

"This is not a process that leads to full and informed public participation," said Charles Margulis, Food Program Director at the Center for Environmental Health. "After 10 years of this application sitting at the FDA, failure to give the public all available data in a timely manner shows just how misguided and deficient FDA's approval process truly is."

"No new data relating to the environmental and economic risks that transgenic salmon will pose if they escape into the wild was included in the materials released today," said Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth US.

Despite being slated for widespread commercial production, the Environmental Assessment conducted by AquaBounty only focuses on two locations - Canada and Panama. If approved, GE fish could be the last blow to wild Atlantic salmon stocks. The US FDA maintains the fiction that producing the eggs on a Canadian island in a gulf of the Atlantic Ocean will assure that the fertile fish won’t escape into the wild.

"This conclusion is based on a flawed assessment completed by Aquabounty itself and wrongly assumes nothing will go wrong when in reality there are countless points where GE salmon can escape into the wild from this system" said Pica.

Jaydee Hanson, Center for Food Safety: 202-547-9359 (w); 703-231-5956 (c)
Lauren Wright, Food and Water Watch: 703 447-7106
Michael Hansen, Consumers Union: 917-774-3801

Monday, September 6, 2010


Friends of the Earth urges end to 'land grab' for biofuels

Charity predicts more food shortages in Africa because of EU target to produce 10% of all transport fuels from biofuels by 2020

* By Katie Allen
* The Guardian, Monday 30 August 2010

Cane cutter wields machete Friends of the Earth says that biofuel crops, including sugar cane, 'are competing directly with food crops for fertile land'. Photograph: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters

European Union countries must drop their biofuels targets or else risk plunging more Africans into hunger and raising carbon emissions, according to Friends of the Earth (FoE).

In a campaign launching today, the charity accuses European companies of land-grabbing throughout Africa to grow biofuel crops that directly compete with food crops. Biofuel companies counter that they consult with local governments, bring investment and jobs, and often produce fuels for the local market.

FoE has added its voice to an NGO lobby that claims local communities are not properly consulted and that forests are being cleared in a pattern that echoes decades of exploitation of other natural resources in Africa.

In its report "Africa: Up for Grabs", the group says that the key to halting the land-grab is for EU countries to drop a goal to produce 10% of all transport fuels from biofuels by 2020.

"The amount of land being taken in Africa to meet Europe's increasing demand for biofuels is underestimated and out of control," Kirtana Chandrasekaran, food campaigner for FoE in the UK, said. "Especially in Africa, as long as there's massive demand for biofuels from the European market, it will be hard to control. If we implement the biofuels targets it will only get worse. This is just a small taste of what's to come."

A number of European companies have planted biofuel crops such as jatropha, sugar cane and palm oil in Africa and elsewhere to tap into rising demand. But the trend has coincided with soaring food prices and ignited a debate over the dangers of using agricultural land for fuel.

Producers argue they typically farm land not destined, or suitable for, food crops. But campaigners reject those claims, with FoE saying that biofuel crops, including non-edible ones such as jatropha, "are competing directly with food crops for fertile land".

ActionAid claimed this year that European biofuel targets could result in up to 100 million more hungry people, increased food prices and landlessness.

Natural disasters including floods in Pakistan and a heatwave in Russia have wiped out crops in recent weeks and intensified fears of widespread food shortages.

The United Nations has singled out biofuel demand as a factor in what it estimates will be as much as a 40% jump in food prices over the coming decade.

Estimates of how much land in Africa is being farmed by foreign companies and governments, either for food or fuel crops, vary significantly. The FoE report focuses on 11 African countries in what it sees as a rush by foreign companies to farm there. In Tanzania, for example, it says that about 40 foreign-owned companies, including some from the UK, have invested in agrofuel developments. It argues that such activities are actually raising carbon emissions in many cases because virgin forests are being cut down.
Lip service

The report concludes: "While foreign companies pay lip service to the need for 'sustainable development', agrofuel production and demand for land is resulting in the loss of pasture and forests, destroying natural habitat and probably causing an increase in greenhouse gas emissions."

Sun Biofuels, a British company farming land in Mozambique and Tanzania and named in the report, criticised the charity's research as "emotional and anecdotal" and said that its time would be better spent looking into ways to develop equitable farming models in Africa.

Sun's chief executive, Richard Morgan, said his company's leasing of land in Tanzania had taken three years, during which 11 communities, comprising about 11,000 people, were consulted.

"I find it insulting from Friends of the Earth. Somehow it's indirect criticism of Mozambiquan and Tanzanian governments that they would allow this dispossession to take place," he said.

Morgan conceded that such a protracted process could raise expectations among local people of jobs and investment that could not be met, and said that it was often those negative testimonies that were collected by newspapers and NGOs. But he insisted that Sun was creating jobs where possible and that much of the biofuel production was destined for domestic markets in Africa rather than Europe.

"There's an opportunity here to get investment into local communities in an ethical way," he said.

In many cases, biofuel production was replacing or reducing illegal tree felling, Morgan added. "Tanzania has a large landless community felling forest land. If you give employment to those people as an alternative, there is a chance you can intervene commercially there in a good way."

Biofuel crops were being grown on land that was not intended for food production, he said: "Often we are growing trees on land already cut down for charcoal or in some cases tobacco. We haven't displaced anyone."

But FoE argues that "most of the foreign companies are developing agrofuels to sell on the international market". Its campaigners in Africa are demanding that African states should immediately suspend further land acquisitions and investments in agrofuels. Instead, they want to see fundamental changes in consumption habits in developed countries – be it making more use of public transport or adopting different diets.

Chandrasekaran said: "Biofuels is just a small part of what is happening. What needs to change are consumption patterns in the west. That means [eating less] meat and dairy, given more than a third of the world's agricultural land goes to feeding meat and dairy production. It also means [reducing] consumption of fuel."