Friday, April 27, 2012


Harvest in AprilHundreds of Thousands Urge USDA to Stop 'Agent Orange Corn'

- Common Dreams staff
Hundreds of thousands of individuals, organizations and farmers are pushing the USDA to stop the approval of Dow AgroSciences' 2,4-D-resistant corn, dubbed 'Agent Orange corn' by its opponents, who say the product poses a threat to public health and the environment.
The product, officially called 'Enlist,' is a genetically modified crop able to withstand being sprayed with 2,4-D, one of the components of Agent Orange, so that farmers can spray the pesticide to kill weeds without killing the crop.
As the New York Times explains, the 2,4-D-resistant corn was seen as necessary because farmers had overused glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's RoundUp, and the weeds became immune to the pesticide.
(photo: Iowa Farm Bureau)
Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, underscores the health risks associated with 2,4-D: "Many studies show that 2,4 D exposure is associated with various forms of cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, nerve damage, hormone disruption and birth defects,” she said. “USDA must take these significant risks seriously and reject approval of this crop.”
Others, such as Margot McMillen, an organic farmer in Missouri, noted that by approving Enlist, the USDA would be filling the pockets of chemical makers: “USDA must stand up for those growing America’s food and put their interests, and the public’s, ahead of chemical companies’ profits.”
The product is denounced not only by food safety groups and organic farmers; it is also denounced by conventional farmers whose voice is heard in the Save Our Crops Coalition (SOCC):
“It is the projection of a 1070% increase in the use of 2,4-D that threatens the survival of the specialty crop production in the Midwest. 2,4-D is a threat to growers and processors like us,” said Steve Smith of Red Gold, an Indiana-based food processor, part of SOCC
The short video answering the question, "Why is this technology needed?" on Enlist's own site from Dow AgroSciences inadvertently gives an answer to the question by showing several large fields of nothing but monocultures.
The USDA's public comment period on the corn ends today. Several groups including Pesticide Action Network have petitions to ask the USDA to reject the proposal.
* * *
* * *
Reuters: Protesters urge U.S. to scuttle Dow's new GMO corn
Dow wants to roll out Enlist corn, soybeans and cotton along with an Enlist herbicide that are able to survive dousings of a combination of the herbicide 2,4-D with glyphosate. The new chemical aims to wipe out weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate alone.
Dow officials voiced frustration with the activism of opponents. The company said it is trying to educate farmers and others about the benefits of its products, which it said are safe and well tested. [...]
2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was one of the ingredients in Agent Orange, the Vietnam War defoliant that was blamed for numerous health problems suffered during and after the war.
Charles Benbrook, chief scientist for the Organic Center and former executive director of the agriculture board of the National Academy of Sciences, said widespread planting of 2,4-D corn could trigger as much as a 30-fold increase in 2,4-D use on corn by the end of the decade.
Overall 2,4-D use in American agriculture would rise from 27 million pound to more than 100 million pounds and the release of 2,4-D soybeans and cotton following corn would boost usage still more, according to Benbrook.
Several medical and public health professionals have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture warning of health threats that could accompany such an increase in 2,4-D use.
* * *
Food Safety Groups: USDA Receives Over 365,000 Public Comments Opposing Approval of 2,4-D-Resistant, GE Corn
WASHINGTON - April 26 - Over 140 groups and more than 365,000 citizens from across the country are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reject a Dow Chemical application seeking approval of a controversial genetically engineered (GE) corn that is resistant to the hazardous herbicide 2,4-D. In addition to the public comments, 143 farm, environmental, health, fisheries groups and companies will submit a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack expressing their overwhelming opposition to this crop. The comments and letter will be submitted when USDA’s public comment period ends this Friday, April 27.
“American agriculture stands at a crossroads. One path leads to more intensive use of old and toxic pesticides, litigious disputes in farm country over drift-related crop injury, less crop diversity, increasingly intractable weeds, and sharply rising farmer production costs,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. “This is the path American agriculture will take with approval of Dow’s 2,4-D resistant corn, soybeans and the host of other new herbicide-resistant crops in the pipeline. Another path is possible, but embarking upon it will take enlightened leadership from USDA.”
According to agricultural scientist Dr. Charles Benbrook, widespread planting of 2,4-D resistant corn could trigger as much as a 30-fold increase in 2,4-D use on corn by the end of the decade, given 2,4-D’s limited use on corn at present. Overall 2,4-D use in American agriculture would rise from 27 million lbs. today to over 100 million lbs. 2,4-D soybeans and cotton would boost usage still more. Yet USDA has provided no analysis of the serious harm to human health, the environment or neighboring farms that would result.
“It’s clear that this new generation of GE herbicide-resistant seeds is the growth engine of the pesticide industry’s sales and marketing strategy,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, Senior Scientist at Pesticide Action Network. “These seeds are part of a technology package explicitly designed to facilitate increased, indiscriminate herbicide use and pump up chemical sales.”
In addition, 35 medical and public health professionals have signed a letter to USDA warning of the severe health harms that would likely accompany the massive increase in 2,4-D use, expected to accompany approval of the GE seed. “Many studies show that 2,4 D exposure is associated with various forms of cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, nerve damage, hormone disruption and birth defects,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. “USDA must take these significant risks seriously and reject approval of this crop.”
American farmers are also rightly concerned that the introduction of 2,4-D resistant corn will threaten their crops. 2,4-D drift is responsible for more episodes of crop injury than any other herbicide. Last week, a coalition representing more than 2,000 farmers and groups filed petitions with the USDA and the EPA, asking USDA to conduct a thorough environmental review before making a decision on approving 2,4-D resistant corn and EPA to convene an advisory panel to examine impacts from increased application of the herbicides.
“Farmers are on the front lines of this potential chemical disaster,” said Iowa conventional corn and soybean farmer George Naylor. “Conventional farmers stand to lose crops while organic farmers will lose both crops and certification, resulting in an economic unraveling of already-stressed rural communities. I’m also very concerned about the further pollution of the air and water in my community.”
“USDA must stand up for those growing America’s food and put their interests, and the public’s, ahead of chemical companies’ profits,” added Margot McMillen, an organic farmer in Missouri. Hers is the message of farmers who are speaking on this issue today at a national telepress conference organized by the National Family Farm Coalition.
Dow’s 2,4-D resistant corn is a clear indication that first-generation GE, herbicide-resistant crops—specifically Monsanto’s Roundup Ready (RR) varieties—are rapidly failing. RR crops, which comprise 84 percent of world biotech plantings, have triggered massive use of glyphosate (Roundup’s active ingredient) and an epidemic of glyphosate-resistant “superweeds.”
Though Dow claims 2,4-D crops are the solution to weed resistance a recent peer-reviewed study published in the prestigious journal Bioscience concludes that these new GE crops will pour oil on the fire. The study, entitled “Navigating a Critical Juncture for Sustainable Weed Management,” suggests new GE crops will trigger an outbreak of still more intractable weeds resistant to both glyphosate and 2,4-D.
2,4-D drift and runoff also pose serious risk for environmental harm. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service have found that 2,4-D is likely having adverse impacts on several endangered species, including the California red-legged frog, the Alameda whipsnake, and Pacific salmon, via impacts on their habitats and prey.
“EPA recently denied our petition to ban or control 2,4-D, putting their head in the sand instead of protecting people and plants,” said Mae Wu, a health attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “If USDA now grants Dow’s application, farmers, gardeners, wildlife, and kids will all face even greater exposure to this toxic herbicide.”
If approved, the Center for Food Safety has vowed to challenge USDA’s decision in court, as this novel GE crop provides no public benefit and will only cause serious harm to human health, the environment, and threaten American farms.
The groups submitting public comments to USDA include the Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network, Food & Water Watch, Food Democracy Now, the National Family Farm Coalition, Organic Farming Research Foundation, the Organic Consumers Association,, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


beef'Mad Cow' Finding Highlights Food Safety Gaps, Say Critics

- Common Dreams staff
The announcement on Tuesday that a California dairy cow had mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), highlights shortcomings of the country's food safety system, say critics. 
The beef industry and the USDA were quick to dismiss worries of contamination to the food supply.  John Clifford, the USDA's chief veterinary officer, said, "It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health."
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association said in a statement: "U.S. regulatory controls are effective, and that U.S fresh beef and beef products from cattle of all ages are safe and can be safely traded due to our interlocking safeguards."
But Elisa Odabashian, West Coast director of Consumers Union, noted that the monitoring system leaves public health gaps because it is just too small.
"Only 40,000 cows a year -- of millions slaughtered -- are tested," she said. "We don't know if this is an isolated, unusual event -- or if they are not finding it because they are not looking. There very well may be more beef that has this disease. Our monitoring program is tiny."
Agriculture officials said the dead cow had an atypical form of BSE caused by a random mutation, not the form caused by eating infecting cattle feed.
* * *
* * *
The U.S. Agriculture Department confirmed on Tuesday a California dairy cow had mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the fourth such U.S. case since it was first found here in 2003, but said no parts of the animal entered the nation's food supply.
John Clifford, the USDA's chief veterinary officer, said there was "no cause for alarm" from the animal, which was found at a rendering plant that processes diseased or sick animals into non-edible products for use in things like soap or glue.
Mad cow, which is believed to cause the deadly brain disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob in humans who eat infected parts from animals with the disease, was first found in the United States in late 2003, causing a nearly $3 billion slump in the nation's beef exports the following year.
* * *
* * *
But many questions remained unanswered late Tuesday: Where did the cow come from? How did it get the disease? Were there other animals in the herd that might be infected? And was the meat from them sold for public consumption?
The cow tested positive at a transfer facility in Hanford, 15 miles west of Visalia in Kings County, operated by Baker Commodities, the company confirmed Tuesday. Baker has 21 plants across the United States that convert animal byproducts into pet food, poultry feed and tallow, used in soaps, paints and cosmetics. The company advertises that it provides "dead stock removal" for dairy cows and cattle.
Dead livestock are brought to the transfer facility to have their hides removed before going to a rendering plant at Kerman 48 miles to the north. The animal was tested as part of a random sampling program. [...]
Although many dairy cows in the U.S. eventually are slaughtered for pet food and other products, some are turned into ground beef and other types of meat for human consumption, including hamburgers at fast-food restaurants and on school lunch menus. [...]
But critics said the incident shows shortcomings in the USDA's safety regulations. "Since the Bush administration, the number of cows tested each year has diminished," said Elisa Odabashian, West Coast director of Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.
"Only 40,000 cows a year -- of millions slaughtered -- are tested," she said. "We don't know if this is an isolated, unusual event -- or if they are not finding it because they are not looking. There very well may be more beef that has this disease. Our monitoring program is tiny."
* * *
Consumers Union is seriously concerned by the announcement today of a new case of mad cow disease in a cow from Central California. This raises three important questions about the safety of US beef.
First, the USDA testing program for mad cow disease is way too small. USDA only tests some 40,000 cows a year of the millions slaughtered annually. So we really don't know if this is an isolated unusual event or whether there are more cases in US beef. Our monitoring program is just too small.
Second, detection of BSE is needlessly hindered by the fact that USDA prohibits private companies from testing their own beef. Private testing could augment USDA testing and provide an extra measure of monitoring and assurance of safety to consumers. USDA only tests cattle that are sent to the renderer and doesn’t test at slaughterhouses. We find it hard to understand why USDA prohibits private companies from testing.
Third, the ruminant to ruminant feed ban in the US to prevent spread of mad cow disease is inadequate. Cows can't be fed to other cows, which is a good thing. But remains of cows can be fed to pigs and chickens, and pig and chicken remains can be fed back to cows. We believe this could allow for the spread of mad cow disease.


photoOrganic Consumers Association and California Right to Know Rally!

Join us on May 2, 2012, to Celebrate our Success!

Rally and march May 2 to celebrate turning in nearly a million signatures to put the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative on the ballot! Kids, babies, baby carriages encouraged – we’ll be wheeling in petitions in carriages to represent the importance of this issue to children and future generations.

Please arrive at 10 a.m. Wednesday May 2 with signs, baby strollers, and balloons encouraged too. We will rally and march to deliver petitions at 11 am.

San Francisco – Meet in front of San Francisco City Hall on Dr. Carlton B. Goodlet Place, near Civic Center BART. Speakers include Pamm Larry from Label GMOs, Right to Know campaigners, and supporters of the GMO labeling initiative.
Contact: Rachel Pachivas,

Los Angeles – Meet at the Board of Elections office at 12400 Imperial Highway, Norwalk. Speakers TBD.
Contact: Stacey Hall,

Sacramento – Meet at Board of Elections office at 7000 65th Street, Sacramento. Speakers include Grant Lundberg of Lundberg Family Farms, local volunteers and other initiative supporters. Contact:  Susan Lang,

Share- Please share this invitation!

Please copy and paste and send this invitation to your list, post it on facebook, tweet about it, blog about it, send it to 10 press contacts or celebrities. Let's celebrate our success publicly to attract the mainstream press.

NOTE about visuals: We want to make a strong show of celebration -- signs, balloons, carriages and/or strollers or red wagons to wheel in petitions will be ideal. In San Francisco and Sacramento there will be 2-4 petition boxes to wheel in (they are 35 pounds each), but LA has up to 20 boxes and needs lots of strollers! Get out those jogging strollers!

Monday, April 23, 2012


'Whole Food, Not Whole Foods': Renegade Farmers Reclaim Land on Earth Day

To prevent the sale for private development, citizens plant community garden

- Common Dreams staff
Bay area residents on Sunday, in order to prevent development of a chain grocery store, reclaimed 10 acres of land owned by the University of California-Berkeley and planted a community garden.
An Occupy the Farm protester rototills a patch of land owned by UC Berkeley at Buchanan and Jackson streets in Albany. (Kevin Johnson / The Chronicle) The protesters-cum-gardeners, several dozen of them in all, broke the lock on a chain-linked fence about mid-day and got to work digging beds, roto-tilling soil, and planting carrots, broccoli, and other vegetables. The plan is to build a sustainable community garden and stave off any attempt by UC Berkeley to sell the land for private development. Gopal Dayaneni, one of the 20 or so core organizers of the action, told the San Jose Mercury News that the group was committed to growing both the farm and its community of farmers. Volunteers had about 10,000 starts -- small bulbs or seedlings -- and dug dozens of rows. Some people brought chickens, and the group even brought in a large tank for watering.
"This is the last, best agricultural soil in the East Bay, and we want it to be preserved for community farming and sustainable urban agriculture, not chopped up and sold off in pieces by the university," said Dayaneni, a 43-year-old Oakland resident and father of two who said he's long been active in environmental and ecological issues in the East Bay.
Police were on the scene throughout the day, but no arrests were reported. The 'renegade farmers' were pitching tents at the end of the day, but said they had no plans to permanently occupy the land.  "Our goal is not to live here, our goal is to create a working urban agro-ecological farm," Anya Kamenskaya, a spokesperson for the group, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
*  *  *
San Francisco Chronicle: Activists raise stakes with renegade farmA group of Occupy the Farm protesters work to plow a lot owned by the University of California near the corner of Buchanan Street and San Pablo Avenue in Albany, Calif., on Sunday, April 22, 2012 (Aric Crabb/Staff)
A tussle between preservationists and UC Berkeley over a decadelong development project in Albany erupted into a pitchfork protest Sunday, when activists planted a renegade farm on a plot of land known as the Gill Tract in an effort to keep it agriculturally pristine.
Timing their action to Earth Day, about 200 members of Occupy the Farm to Take Back the Gill Tract broke a lock on a gate, rototilled the soil and planted carrot, broccoli and corn seedlings on part of the 10-acre site at Marin and San Pablo avenues. The Albany tract is owned by UC Berkeley, which has plans for further housing and commercial development nearby.
Police were on hand not long after the activists broke in at mid-afternoon and informed them they were breaking the law, but no arrests were made.
By early evening, there was no police presence visible at the site, located near a busy street corner just east of Highway 80. Most of the activists had departed, but 50 or 60 planned to camp out at the site and had begun erecting tents.
Anya Kamenskaya, a spokeswoman for the group, said police officers told them they might return, but it was unclear if they would try to evict them.
"We think it is the height of irony that a upscale national chain grocery store would be building on arable land where food can be grown here for the community."--Anya Kamensksaya, renegade farmer
"Our goal is not to live here, our goal is to create a working urban agro-ecological farm," Kamenskaya said.
There was no immediate comment on the situation from UC Berkeley representatives. [...]
"I wouldn't call this property damage, I'd call it property enrichment," said Lesley Haddock, a UC Berkeley sophomore who was part of the farm-in. "Basically what we did was pull out weeds. We're not trying to protect it as is, but to turn it into a community hub for agriculture."
She said Occupy the Farm was not linked to the Occupy Oakland protests, but "was philosophically inspired by it." The movement, she added, was done in solidarity with the Brazilian Movimiento Sin Tierra (Landless Workers Movement) and La Via Campesina (the International Day of Peasant's Struggles).
The activists erected signs, including one that read "Whole food, not Whole Foods," a reference to the grocery chain that is a possible tenant at the site.
"We think it is the height of irony that a upscale national chain grocery store would be building on arable land where food can be grown here for the community," Kamenskaya said.  *  *  *
San Jose Mercury News: Protesters occupy Berkeley-owned farm tract in AlbanyAsa Dodsworth muscles a mound of vegetation on his shoulder at a patch of arable land at the intersection of Buchanan and Jackson in Albany on Sunday. Several hundred people occupied a tract of arable land in Berkeley on Sunday where they tilled soil and planted seeds for a community garden. (Photo: Kevin Johnson / The Chronicle)
The group said it hopes the university will commit to using the remaining land for public farming, rather than selling it off. The new farm, Dayaneni said, is a work in progress, but the group hopes to build on Sunday's efforts and make it a source of "healthy, local, yummy, tasty food for people who need it."
A live online video stream from Ustream user BellaEiko on Sunday showed dozens of protesters milling about the tract around 4 p.m., some of them gardening. A few minutes earlier, the stream showed University of California police officers telling protesters that they were trespassing and subject to arrest.
Neither Cal spokesman Dan Mogulof nor university police immediately returned phone calls Sunday afternoon asking for comment. Albany police referred all questions to university police.
Dayaneni said the group has been cordial with police and is planning to camp out to protect its hard work.
"Occupy the Farm is committed to farming; that's the purpose of it," he said. "If (police) want to tell us to leave, we'll keep farming, and they'll have to make a decision what to do."


GMO Labeling Passed out of Committee

April 20, 2012:  Today, the House Agriculture Committee voted 9-1 in favor of H.722, the bill that would require labeling of genetically engineered foods sold in Vermont. The vote came after the Committee had heard nearly a month’s worth of testimony, including at the April 12th public hearing when hundreds of the bill’s supporters packed the house chamber and over 100 testified unanimously in favor of the bill.

We hope that you take the time to thank the members of the House Agriculture Committee for their hard work on the bill. (you can see a list and find their contact information here.)

Since the public hearing, the Committee has been working on the bill to make sure that it addressed the many reasons why people have a right to know what they are eating. Unfortunately, before passing the bill, the committee added a “trigger clause” that would not allow the bill to go into effect until 365 days after a similar bill is passed by California, as well as two states in the Northeast.

The bill will now move to the House Judiciary Committee, where it will be examined before it can reach the floor. It is not likely that the Judiciary Committee will have time to consider the bill, because the legislative session is slated to end in less than two weeks.

We want to thank everyone who has worked so hard in support of the bill, especially all of you who took the time to come to the public hearing in Montpelier. The VT Right to Know GMOs coalition will be meeting on Monday to discuss the next steps for this campaign, and we will let you know what you can do to help keep this important issue alive.

Thanks again for all the hard work and support.
Falko Schilling
Consumer Protection Advocate, VPIRG
802-223-5221 x.26
David L. Rogers,
Policy Advisor, NOFA Vermont
802-434-4122 (NOFA office)
802-244-6446 (Home office)
Andrea Stander
Executive Director, Rural Vermont

Sunday, April 22, 2012


documents1 210x131 New Lawsuit Filed Over GMO AlfalfaNew Lawsuit Filed Over GMO Alfalfa

Jason Best
April 24, 2011
The next skirmish over genetically modified foods is getting underway, pitting a coalition of environmental, consumer and food-safety groups against the federal government. Early this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved unrestricted planting of a type of GM alfalfa engineered by Monsanto. To the average consumer, that might not sound like such a big deal-after all, we’re not rabbits.
But rabbits aren’t the only animals that like to munch on the sweet grass. Alfalfa is the primary food source for cows, too. No only that, but alfalfa has a wily propensity to cross-pollinate across miles; over time, opponents say, there’s no way to ensure that the GM variety doesn’t intermix with the non-GM variety. What that means is that the government’s decision to approve the use of GM alfalfa could spell the end of organic dairy products, ranging from milk to yogurt. By law, no GM ingredients can be used in the production of anything labeled “organic.”
Opponents also charge that widespread use of GM alfalfa will result in the release of an estimated 23 million more pounds of toxic chemicals into the environment. That’s because Monsanto developed its GM alfalfa to withstand application of its Roundup herbicide. Currently, more than 90 percent of the alfalfa grown in the U.S. does not use any herbicide, according to the UDSA. Critics say that planting GM alfalfa will not only lead to more herbicide use, it will encourage an already growing problem of herbicide-resistant weeds, so-called “superweeds.”
A broad coalition of groups, ranging from environmental organizations such as Earthjustice to public advocacy groups such as the Center for Food Safety, have filed suit in federal court to block USDA’s decision.
“Approving the unrestricted planting of GE alfalfa is a blatant case of the USDA serving one form of agriculture at the expense of all others,” says one of the plaintiffs in the case, in a press release issued by the coalition. “If this decision is not remedied, the result will be lost livelihoods for organic dairy farmers, loss of choice for farmers and consumers, and no transparency about [GM] contamination of our foods.”

Read more:


April 20, 2012
5:19 PM
CONTACT: Environmental Working Group (EWG)
Don Carr, 202-667-6982,

2012 Senate Farm Bill Does More Harm Than Good

WASHINGTON - April 20 - Statement of Craig Cox, Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Environmental Working Group, on the Senate Agriculture Committee’s 2012 farm bill.
“The 2012 farm bill should do more to support family farmers, protect the environment, promote healthy diets and support working families. Unfortunately, the bill produced today by the Senate Agriculture Committee will do more harm than good. It needlessly sacrifices conservation and feeding assistance programs to finance unlimited insurance subsidies and a new entitlement program for highly profitable farm businesses. Rather than simply ending the widely discredited direct payment program, the Senate Agriculture Committee has created an expensive new entitlement program that guarantees most of the income of farm businesses already enjoying record profits. Replacing direct payments with a revenue guarantee program is a cynical game of bait-and-switch that should be rejected by Congress.
“The proposed legislation doubles down on unlimited subsidies to buy and deliver farm insurance – at a cost of $90 billion over the next ten years. Modest reforms to these heavily subsidized insurance programs, such as means-testing and capping premium subsidies, would save enough money to spare conservation and anti-hunger programs from the proposed cuts. Crop insurance has not only become an expensive new subsidy for large farm businesses, it has also become an entitlement program for insurance agents and insurers, including companies based in tax havens such as Bermuda and Switzerland.
“EWG is disappointed that the Committee failed to address the impact of fence-row to fence-row agricultural production, which is putting unprecedented pressure on our land, water and wildlife. Although the Committee extended conservation compliance to the revenue guarantee program, we are disappointed that the Committee failed to require that farmers protect wetlands, grasslands and soil health in exchange for insurance subsidies. In combination, a new entitlement program, unlimited secret insurance subsidies, cuts to conservation programs and high commodity prices will create powerful incentives to plow up fragile wetlands and grasslands and erase many of the environmental gains made by agriculture in recent years.
“We applaud the provisions in the bill that create and expand programs that support healthy diets and organic farmers, as well as expanding links between local farmers and consumers. We also support efforts to reform conservation programs to get more conservation bang for the buck.
“But for the leadership of Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), this proposal would have been far worse. We look forward to working with Sen. Stabenow and other members of the Committee to strengthen conservation and nutrition provisions of the bill and to place reasonable limits on subsidies for highly-profitable farm businesses.”
The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. EWG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles.


GMOcorn2 220x137 Poland Announces Complete Ban on Monsantos Genetically Modified MaizePoland Announces Complete Ban on Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Maize

Anthony Gucciardi
April 5, 2012
Following the anti-Monsanto activism launched by nations like France and Hungary, Poland has announced that it will launch a complete ban on growing  Monsanto’s  genetically modified strain MON810. The announcement, made by Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki, sets yet another international standard against Monsanto’s genetically modified creations. In addition to being linked to a plethora health ailments, Sawicki says that the pollen originating from this GM strain may actually be devastating the already dwindling bee population.
“The decree is in the works. It introduces a complete ban on the MON810 strain of maize in Poland,” Sawicki stated to the press.
Similar opposition to Monsanto occurred on March 9th, when 7 European countries blocked a proposal by the Danish EU presidency which would permit the cultivation of genetically modified plants on the entire continent. It was France, who in February, lead the charge against GMOs by asking the European Commission to suspend authorization to Monsanto’s genetically modified corn. What’s more, the country settled a landmark case in favor of the people over Monsanto, finding the biotech giant guilty of chemical poisoning.
In a ruling given by a court in Lyon (southeast France), grain grower Paul Francois stated that Monsanto failed to provide proper warnings on the Lasso weedkiller product label which resulted in neurological problems such as memory loss and headaches. The court ordered an expert opinion to determine the sum of the damages, and to verify the link between Lasso and the reported illnesses. The result was a guilty charge, paving the way for further legal action on behalf of injured farmers.
Since 1996, the agricultural branch of the French social security system has gathered about 200 alerts per year regarding sickness related to pesticides. However only 47 cases were even recognized in the past 10 years.
Nations are continually taking a stand against Monsanto, with nations like Hungary destroying 1000 acres of GM maize and India slamming Monsanto with ‘biopiracy‘ charges.

Read more:


controlstrings 210x131 USDA to Give Monsantos New GMO Crops Special Speed Approval

USDA to Give Monsanto’s New GMO Crops Special ‘Speed Approval’

Anthony Gucciardi
February 23, 2012
If you thought Monsanto’s lack of testing on their current GMO crops was bad before, prepare to now be blown away by the latest statement by the USDA. Despite links to organ damage and mutated insects, the USDA says that it is changing the rules so that genetically modified seed companies like Monsanto will get ‘speedier regulatory reviews’. With the faster reviews, there will be even less time spent on evaluating the potential dangers. Why? Because Monsanto is losing sales with longer approval terms.
The changes are expected to take full effect in March when they’re published in the Federal Register. The USDA’s goal is to cut the approval time for GMO crops in half in order to speedily implement them into the global food supply. The current USDA process takes longer than they would like due to ‘public interest, legal challenges, and the challenges associated with the advent of national organic food standardssays USDA deputy administrator Michael Gregoire.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, problems like public interest (activist groups attempting to bring the dangers of GMO crops to light), legal challenges (farmers suing Monsanto over genetic contamination), and national food standards are all getting in the way of their prime goal — to helpMonsanto unleash their latest untested GMO creation. In fact, the concern is that Monsanto may be losing cash flow as nations like Brazil speed genetically modified seeds through laughable approval processes.
Steve Censky, chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, states it quite plainly. This is a move to help Monsanto and other biotechnology giants squash competition and make profits. After all, who cares about public health?
It is a concern from a competition standpoint,” Censky said in a telephone interview.
The same statements are re-iterated by analyst Jeff Windau in an interview with Bloomberg:
“If you can reduce the approval time, you get sales that much faster,” said Windau
If you can reduce the approval time, as in the time it takes to determine if these food products are safe, then you can get sales much faster. Is the USDA working for the United States consumer, or is it working for Monsanto?
Explore More:
  1. Genetically Modified Salmon Approval Pushed by USDA with Nearly $500,000 Funding
  2. USDA Steps Back and Gives Monsanto More Power Over GMO Seeds
  3. Going Against Nature: USDA Found to be Exterminating Bees, Crops, and Birds
  4. 4 Proofs the USDA Doesn’t Care About Your Health
  5. Monsanto’s GMO Crops Ravage US, USDA Ignores Dangers
  6. France Asks EU to Halt Monsanto GMO Corn Approval

Read more:


beecollapse 220x137 Blamed for Bee Collapse, Monsanto Buys Leading Bee Research FirmBlamed for Bee Collapse, Monsanto Buys Leading Bee Research Firm

Anthony Gucciardi
April 19, 2012
Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company being blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the leading bee collapse research organizations. Recently banned from Poland with one of the primary reasons being that the company’s genetically modified corn may be devastating the dying bee population, it is evident that Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of the vital insects. It is therefore quite apparent why Monsanto bought one of the largest bee research firms on the planet.
It can be found in public company reports hosted on mainstream media that Monsanto scooped up the Beeologics firm back in September 2011. During this time the correlation between Monsanto’s GM crops and the bee decline was not explored in the mainstream, and in fact it was hardly touched upon until Polish officials addressed the serious concern amid the monumental ban. Owning a major organization that focuses heavily on the bee collapse and is recognized by the USDA for their mission statement of “restoring bee health and protecting the future of insect pollination” could be very advantageous for Monsanto.
In fact, Beelogics’ company information states that the primary goal of the firm is to study the very collapse disorder that is thought to be a result — at least in part — of Monsanto’s own creations. Their website states:
While its primary goal is to control the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) infection crises, Beeologics’ mission is to become the guardian of bee health worldwide.
What’s more, Beelogics is recognized by the USDA, the USDA-ARS, the media, and ‘leading entomologists’ worldwide. The USDA, of course, has a great relationship with Monsanto. The government agency has gone to great lengths to ensure that Monsanto’s financial gains continue to soar, going as far as to give the company special speed approval for their newest genetically engineered seed varieties. It turns out that Monsanto was not getting quick enough approval for their crops, which have been linked to severe organ damage and other significant health concerns.
Steve Censky, chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, states it quite plainly. It was a move to help Monsanto and other biotechnology giants squash competition and make profits. After all, who cares about public health?
It is a concern from a competition standpoint,” Censky said in a telephone interview.
It appears that when Monsanto cannot answer for their environmental devastation, they buy up a company that may potentially be their ‘experts’ in denying any such link between their crops and the bee decline.

Explore More:
  1. Monsanto PR Firm Reportedly ‘Ended’ by Anonymous
  2. Bill Gates Foundation Buys 500,000 Shares of Monsanto
  3. GMO Giant Monsanto Will Soon Be Allowed To Police Itself
  4. USDA Steps Back and Gives Monsanto More Power Over GMO Seeds
  5. Monsanto GMO Sugarbeets to be Destroyed | Court Concludes USDA Illegally Approved Biotech Crop
  6. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Crops Leading to Mental Illness, Obesity

Read more: