Friday, May 4, 2012


What countries have banned GMO crops?

(These numbers and details may have changed since the date of this printing - Clean Food Earth Woman) These days in Southern Minnesota, it's hard to find any fields that aren't planted with genetically modified corn or soybeans.  While GMO crops are quickly taking over the landscape in the United States and Canada, not all countries have embraced these questionable crops.
Here's a list of countries (and U.S. counties) that have banned genetically modified crops in one way or another.
In the United States:  Only the California counties of Mendocino, Trinity and Marin have successfully banned GM crops.  Voters in other Calilfornia counties have tried to pass similar measures but failed.
In Australia:  Several Australian states had bans on GM crops but most of them have since lifted them.  Only South Australia still has a ban on GM crops, though Tasmania has a moratorium on them until November of 2014.
In Japan:  The Japanese people are staunchly opposed to genetically modified crops and no GM seeds are planted in the country.  However, large quantities of canola are imported from Canada (which is one of the world's largest producers of GM canola) and there is now GM canola growing wild around Japanese ports and roads to major food oil companies.  Genetically modified canola such as Monsanto's Roundup Ready canola have been found growing around 5 of the 6 ports that were tested for GM contamination.
In New Zealand:  No GM foods are grown in the country.
In Germany:  There is a ban on the cultivation or sale of GMO maize.
In Ireland:  All GM crops were banned for cultivation in 2009, and there is a voluntary labeling system for foods containing GM foods to be identified as such.
In Austria, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria and Luxembourg: There are bans on the cultivation and sale of GMOs.
In France:  Monsanto's MON810 GM corn had been approved but its cultivation was forbidden in 2008.  There is widespread public mistrust of GMOsthat has been successful in keeping GM crops out of the country.
In Madeira: This small autonomous Portugese island requested a country-wide ban on genetically modified crops last year and was permitted to do so by the EU.
In Switzerland:  The country banned all GM crops, animals, and plants on its fields and farms in a public referendum in 2005, but the initial ban was for only five years.  The ban has since been extended through 2013.
In India:  The government placed a last-minute ban on GM eggplant just before it was scheduled to begin being planted in 2010.  However, farmers were widely encouraged to plant Monsanto's GM cotton and it has led to devastating results.  The UK's Daily Mail reports that an estimated 125,000 farmers have committed suicide  (This number is now at about 250,000 suicides in India by May 2012, due to GMO Crop failures - Clean Food Earth Woman) because of crop failure and massive debt since planting GM seeds.
In Thailand:  The country has zigzagged in its support and opposition of GM crops.  The country had widespread trials of GM papayas from Hawaii but reversed its plans when the seeds got wild and began contaminating nearby crops.  Several countries such as Japan moved to restrict the importation of Thailand's papayas as a result, not wanting to import any GM foods.  Thailand is currently trying to embrace both sides -- producing organic foods for some countries at a high price while moving towards embracing more and more GM crops.  The country has also tried declaring some areas GMO-free zones in order to encourage other countries to trust their foods.
What countries have embraced GM crops?
  • The U.S. now grows mostly GM varieties of corn, canola and soy.  Hawaii now grows GM papayas.  Approvals have also been given for GM alfalfa, zucchinis, beet sugar and tomato varieties, though not all are currently being grown.  A recent attempt to approve GM salmon was defeated.
  • China is one of the largest producers of GM crops.
  • Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic are approved for growing GM potatoes.
  • Finland's government and population is receptive to GM foods.  None are currently grown in the country, however, because no approved GM crops are suitable for the country's growing conditions.
  • The Zambian government has launched a campaign to get the public to support GM technology.
  • Canada has widespread GM crop usage.  Nearly all Canadian canola is GM, as is a large portion of the country's soy and corn.  Prince Edward Island tried to pass a ban on GMO cultivation but failed, and GM crops in the region are currently increasing.
  • Spain currently grows GMO maize (about 20% of the country's maize is GM).
  • The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Portugal, Romania and Poland all grow some GMO maize.
  • The Phillipines grow GM crops.
  • The European Union (EU) has approved the cultivation of many GM crops (including potatoes and maize) but individual countries are able to opt out from growing them.  However, most EU countries are not permitted to reject the sale of GM foods.
  • South Africa is growing an increasing number of GM crops.
  • Britain officially supports GM crops and has trials of GMOs like potatoes planted.  However, there is widespread public distrust of the crops and Prince Charles has been a vocal opponent of GMOs.
  • South America has widespread planting of GM crops.
  • As mentioned above, Thailand is alternately embracing and rejecting GM crops. 
  • India also has widespread GM cotton use.  Also mentioned above, the widespread planting of Monsanto's GM cotton has led to tragedy throughout India.  The Indian government even banned conventional seeds from many government seed banks in an attempt to please Monsanto (in return, the country was given International Monetary Fund loans to help its economy) and slow the nation's poverty rates.  An estimated 1,000 farmers commit suicide each month in the country as a result of the crop failure and debt caused by planting the GM seeds.  Farmers were convinced to spend what was often 1,000 times the cost of conventional seed on the "magic seeds" after listening to Monsanto's promises of increased yields and resistence to pests.  Despite the promises, the crops were often destroyed by bollworms.  In addition, the farmers weren't warned that the crops would require twice as much water as conventional cotton, leading to many crops drying up and dying.  The "terminator" seeds also must be purchased again every year.  For farmers used to saving seed from year to year, this was often a final financial blow that led to insurmountable debt.
The variation in each country's laws and views regarding GMOs has led to complications when it comes to exporting foods.  For example, Thailand has been working to reassure other countries about the safety of its food but recently had its canned tuna rejected by Greece and the Netherlands after testing showed GM ingredients.  The tuna was packed in soybean oil imported by the United States, where most soy is genetically modified.
Some Americans are now looking for foods like canola oil and soy products that are not grown in the United States, thinking that it's a way to avoid GM foods.  This is obviously not a good idea.  It's important not to assume that just because a food was not produced in the United States, it's not genetically modified. 
Until consumers have the right to labeling informing us of which foods contain GM ingredients, it's important to be aware of which countries are now growing GM foods and which foods are produced.
How can you avoid GMOs?  See this article:
15 Ways to take a stand against Monsanto and avoid GMO foods
The status of GM crops is constantly changing, both in the United States and around the world.  Public outcry is rising against these largely untested foods and crops. The industry claims of "super yields" and an end to poverty and famine have proven to be dangerously inaccurate.  Now, more than ever, is the time when our voices (and purchases) can make a real difference.
See also:

Thursday, May 3, 2012


May 2, 2012
3:29 PM
CONTACT: Center for Biological Diversity
Mollie Matteson, (802) 318-1487

Bat-killing Epidemic Spreads to Civil War Park at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, Tenn. - May 2 - A disease that has killed nearly 7 million bats across the eastern United States has struck a colony of bats at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, which sprawls from Tennessee into Georgia. The discovery of the disease at the site of one of the nation’s most famous Civil War battles marks the second time in a week the epidemic known as white-nose syndrome has been detected in a popular national park. Last week, the disease was found in the Washington, D.C.-area C&O Canal National Historic Park, home to Maryland’s largest group of hibernating bats.
“Each new report of this disease’s catastrophic march across the country reaffirms this is the worst wildlife epidemic in U.S. history and demands decisive action from our leaders in Washington,” said Mollie Matteson, a bat specialist with the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned the White House on April 11 to direct swifter and better-coordinated national action to address the unbridled spread of the disease. “If we take the right steps, right away, we’ve got a shot at limiting the damage. But we need more funding for research, greater restrictions on cave access on federal lands, and for Congress to pass the Wildlife Disease Emergency Act, now under consideration.”
In just six years, the invasive fungal growth that appears on bats’ muzzles as they hibernate has spread to bat colonies in 19 states and four Canadian provinces, stretching from Nova Scotia to Missouri. In northeastern states, where the bat disease has been present the longest, bat populations are down by more than 90 percent. Biologists believe several bat species may become extinct as a result of white-nose syndrome, which they think was inadvertently introduced to North America from Europe by a cave visitor.
White-nose syndrome first appeared at a commercial cave in upstate New York in 2006. Bats appear to be the primary cause of local and regional disease spread, but scientists fear that humans can cause long-distance leaps of the disease, beyond the range of natural bat migration. For this reason, most caves on federal lands in the eastern and southern United States have been closed to nonessential access for the past several years.
Caves at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park were closed by the National Park Service in 2009 as a precaution against human transport of the bat disease. White-nose syndrome was reported for the first time in Tennessee in 2010.
Last week, senators held a hearing on the Wildlife Disease Emergency Act, which would create a monetary fund and rapid-response structure for dealing with wildlife health crises like white-nose syndrome. Introduced last year by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the bill would allow the Interior Department to declare a wildlife disease emergency and create a committee to oversee research and policy decisions, including coordination of state, federal and private entities.
“The loss of bats is a disaster for the natural world, but it also has serious ramifications for our economy,” said Matteson. “By eating hordes of insects, bats provide an estimated $22 billion in pest-control services to American farmers every year.”
Background on White-nose Syndrome
The early response to white-nose syndrome has been hampered by a lack of coordination and adequate resources for state and federal biologists, who first scrambled to understand what was happening in the winter of 2007-08 when sickened bats in New York, and then neighboring states, started flying out of caves and mines by the thousands in the middle of winter. The rapid spread of the disease to new states every subsequent winter has increased pressure for a centralized response network that would make communication and sharing of information and resources more efficient.
In mid-April, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the White House to take action to speed up the response to white-nose syndrome, requesting that it provide direction to the various federal agencies involved thus far, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Geological Survey. The Center cited inconsistency and lack of coordination among the agencies as a major hindrance to efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
Earlier this winter, the bat disease was reported for the first time in Alabama, Delaware and Missouri. Scientists believe it could soon spread across the entire country, and may threaten the survival of most of the nation’s two-dozen hibernating bat species. To date, nine species of bats have been found with the white-nose fungus; of these, six species have experienced mortality, several of them at rates approaching 100 percent in affected caves. Scientists do not yet have an effective treatment. The only known way to contain the spread of white-nose is to reduce the risk of human transport of the fungus by closing caves to nonessential access and requiring decontamination procedures of those entering caves.
For more information, visit
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


riceHuman genes engineered into experimental GMO rice being grown in Kansas
Wednesday, May 02, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Unless the rice you buy is certified organic, or comes specifically from a farm that tests its rice crops for genetically modified (GM) traits, you could be eating rice tainted with actual human genes. The only known GMO with inbred human traits in cultivation today, a GM rice product made by biotechnology company Ventria Bioscience is currently being grown on 3,200 acres in Junction City, Kansas -- and possibly elsewhere -- and most people have no idea about it.

Since about 2006, Ventria has been quietly cultivating rice that has been genetically modified (GM) with genes from the human liver for the purpose of taking the artificial proteins produced by this "Frankenrice" and using them in pharmaceuticals. With approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Ventria has taken one of the most widely cultivated grain crops in the world today, and essentially turned it into a catalyst for producing new drugs.

Originally, the cultivation of this GM rice, which comes in three approved varieties (, was limited to the laboratory setting. But in 2007, Ventria decided to bring the rice outdoors. The company initially tried to plant the crops in Missouri, but met resistance from Anheuser-Busch and others, which threatened to boycott all rice from the state in the event that Ventria began planting its rice within state borders (

So Ventria's GM rice eventually ended up in Kansas, where it is presumably still being grown for the purpose of manufacturing drugs on 3,200 acres in Junction City. And while this GM rice with added human traits has never been approved for human consumption, it is now being cultivated in open fields where the potential for unrestrained contamination and spread of its unwanted, dangerous GM traits is virtually a given.

"This is not a product that everyone would want to consume," said Jane Rissler from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to the Washington Post back in 2007. "It is unwise to produce drugs in plants outdoors."

Though receiving tens of thousands of public comments of opposition, many rightly concerned about the spread of GM traits, the USDA approved open cultivation of Ventria's GM rice anyway. This, of course, occurred after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had refused approval for Ventria's GM rice back in 2003 (

GM 'pharmaceutical' rice could cause more disease, suggests report

Besides the threat of contamination and wild spread, Ventria's GM rice, which is purportedly being grown to help third-world children overcome chronic diarrhea, may conversely cause other chronic diseases.

"These genetically engineered drugs could exacerbate certain infections, or cause dangerous allergic or immune system reactions," said Bill Freese, Science Policy Analyst at the Center for Food Safety (CFS), who published a report back in 2007 about the dangers of Ventria's GM rice.

You can view that report here:

Sources for this article include:


Beyond Fossilized Paradigms: Futureconomics of Food

The economics of the future is based on people and biodiversity - not fossil fuels, toxic chemicals and monocultures.

by Vandana Shiva
New Delhi, India - The economic crisis, the ecological crisis and the food crisis are a reflection of an outmoded and fossilized economic paradigm - a paradigm that grew out of mobilizing resources for the war by creating the category of economic "growth" and is rooted in the age of oil and fossil fuels. It is fossilized both because it is obsolete, and because it is a product of the age of fossil fuels. We need to move beyond this fossilized paradigm if we are to address the economic and ecological crisis.Rice terraces near the Drukgyel Dzong, Paro Valley, Bhutan. (Photo: Blaine Harrington)
Economy and ecology have the same roots "oikos" - meaning home - both our planetary home, the Earth, and our home where we live our everyday lives in family and community.
But economy strayed from ecology, forgot the home and focused on the market. An artificial "production boundary" was created to measure Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The production boundary defined work and production for sustenance as non-production and non-work - "if you produce what you consume, then you don't produce". In one fell swoop, nature's work in providing goods and services disappeared. The production and work of sustenance economies disappeared, the work of hundreds of millions of women disappeared.
To the false measure of growth is added a false measure of "productivity". Productivity is output for unit input. In agriculture this should involve all outputs of biodiverse agro-ecosystems - the compost, energy and dairy products from livestock, the fuel and fodder and fruit from agroforestry and farm trees, the diverse outputs of diverse crops. When measured honestly in terms of total output, small biodiverse farms produce more and are more productive.
Bhutan has given up the false categories of GNP and GDP, and replaced them with the category of "gross national happiness" which measures the wellbeing of nature and society.
Inputs should include all inputs - capital, seeds, chemicals, machinery, fossil fuels, labour, land and water. The false measure of productivity selects one output from diverse outputs - the single commodity to be produced for the market, and one input from diverse inputs - labour.
Thus low output, high input chemical, industrial monocultures, which in fact have a negative productivity, are artificially rendered more productive than small, biodiverse, ecological farms. And this is at the root of the false assumption that small farms must be destroyed and replaced by large industrial farms.
This false, fossilized measure of productivity is at the root of the multiple crises we face in food and agriculture.
It is at the root of hunger and malnutrition, because, while commodities grow, food and nutrition have disappeared from the farming system. "Yield" measures the output of a single commodity, not the output of food and nutrition.
This is the root of the agrarian crisis.
When costs of input keep increasing, but are not counted in measuring productivity, small and marginal farmers are pushed into a high cost farming model, which results in debt - and in extreme cases, the epidemic of farmers' suicides.
It is at the root of the unemployment crisis.
When people are replaced by energy slaves because of a false measure of productivity based on labour inputs alone, the destruction of livelihoods and work is an inevitable result.
It is also at the root of the ecological crisis.
Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley has recognised that "growing organic" and "growing happiness and wellbeing" go hand in hand.
When natural resource inputs, fossil fuel inputs, and chemical inputs are increased but not counted, more water and land is wasted, more toxic poisons are used, more fossil fuels are needed. In terms of resource productivity, chemical industrial agriculture is highly inefficient. It uses ten units of energy to produce one unit of food. It is responsible for 75 per cent use of water, 75 per cent disappearance of species diversity, 75 per cent land and soil degradation and 40 per cent of all Greenhouse Gas emissions, which are destabilizing the climate.
In food and agriculture, when we transcend the false productivity of a fossilised paradigm, and shift from the narrow focus on monoculture yields as the only output, and human labour as the only input, instead of destroying small farms and farmers we will protect them - because they are more productive in real terms. Instead of destroying biodiversity, we will intensify it, because it gives more food and nutrition.
Futureconomics, the economics of the future, is based on people and biodiversity - not fossil fuels, energy slaves, toxic chemicals and monocultures. The fossilized paradigm of food and agriculture gives us displacement, dispossession, disease and ecological destruction. It has given us the epidemic of farmers suicides and the epidemic of hunger and malnutrition. A paradigm that robs 250,000 farmers of their lives, and millions of their livelihoods; that robs half our future generations of their lives by denying them food and nutrition is clearly dysfunctional. 
It has led to the growth of money flow and corporate profits, but it has diminished life and the wellbeing of our people. The new paradigm we are creating on the ground - and in our minds - enriches livelihoods, the health of people and eco-systems and cultures.
On April 2, 2012, the United Nations organised a High Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a new Economic Paradigm to implement resolution 65/309 [PDF], adopted unanimously by the General Assembly in July 2011 - conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal and "recognising that the gross domestic product does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people".
I was invited to address the conference at the UN. The meeting was hosted by the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Bhutan has given up the false categories of GNP and GDP, and replaced them with the category of "gross national happiness" which measures the wellbeing of nature and society.
Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley has recognised that "growing organic" and "growing happiness and wellbeing" go hand in hand. That is why he has asked Navdanya and I to help make a transition to a 100 per cent organic Bhutan.
In India, Navdanya is working with the states of Uttarakhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar for an organic transition. We aim for an organic India by 2050, to end the epidemic of farmers suicides and hunger and malnutrition, to stop the erosion of our soil, our biodiversity, our water; to create sustainable livelihoods and end poverty.
This is futureconomics.
Vandana Shiva
Dr. Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist and eco feminist. She is the founder/director of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is author of numerous books including, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis; Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as NGOs, including the International Forum on Globalization, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and the Third World Network. She has received numerous awards, including 1993 Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize.


May 2, 2012
Dear Friend,
Today is the day Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have been dreading, and the day that millions of us have been waiting for.
Today a grassroots corps of volunteer petition gatherers arrived at County Clerks' offices in all 58 counties in California. They delivered almost a million petitions signed by registered voters along with this message:
Millions against Monsanto are taking back our democracy and restoring our fundamental right to know what's in our food.
This is the first step in putting the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act on the ballot in November. Now it's time for the next step: ramping up the campaign so that millions of fired-up voters in California will turn out in record numbers on November 6 to pass this initiative.
To make this happen, a broad coalition of food, farm, health, public interest, and environmental groups all over the country, joined by leading organic food companies, are delivering this same message today: Let's drop the money bomb on Monsanto.
Please help these groups raise $1 million dollars by May 26th for the California Right to Know GMO Labeling Campaign. You can donate online, by phone, or by mail.
After decades of allowing corporations like Monsanto to buy off our politicians and regulatory agencies, to intimidate everyone from small farmers and state legislators to the Governor of Vermont - to poison our food and our planet - it's time to say "No more."
It's time to tell Monsanto and the rest of the Biotech Bullies that we demand the right to know whether our food has been genetically engineered. It's time for the 99% of us to tell our elected officials that if they won't protect us from CEOs and corporations - the 1% that are destroying our health, our food, and our planet - we will bypass them. We will organize ballot initiatives and write our own laws. And then vote them into law.
Monsanto, Big biotech and Food Inc., are desperate to defeat the California Right to Know Ballot Initiative. They will spend millions on a campaign based on lies and intimidation. They'll try to convince voters that GMOs aren't dangerous, and that labeling them will make food more expensive. They're counting on us to cower in the face of their massive spending and TV ads, and their threat to sue any state that dares to stand up to them.
What they aren't counting on is you - and millions like you across the country - who know what's at stake in California. Millions who know that if this law passes in the state with the eighth largest economy in the world, it's only a matter of time before we win the battle everywhere.
Monsanto isn't counting on millions of people like you who know that GMOs in our food have been linked to a host of health issues, including kidney and liver damage, infertility, auto-immune disorders, allergies, accelerated aging and birth defects.
It doesn't matter what political party you belong to, or which candidates you support. The right to know issue belongs to all of us. It's about our food, our health, and our environment. We are all in this together. That's why together, we are going to raise $1 million in the next few weeks to help pass this law, and shift the balance of power back to the grassroots, the 99%.
Please donate today - online, by phone, or drop a check in the mail. Every dollar that you contribute will go directly into the California Right to Know ballot initiative and other state GMO labeling campaigns, including a legal defense fund to defend states that pass GMO labeling laws from Monsanto lawsuits.
We can do this. It's time. Let's drop the money bomb on Monsanto and take back our food supply. Thank you!
For an Organic Future,

Ronnie Cummins
Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund

P.S. All money raised for this campaign will go through the Organic Consumers Fund, a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic ConsumersAssociation, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action. Donations are not tax-deductible.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


New child farm labor regulations dead — thanks to Sarah Palin’s expertise?

Last week, the White House abandoned proposed changes to labor rules that might have kept young people working on farms quite a bit safer. It was a move widely characterized as a cave to political pressure from Republicans and some Big Ag-friendly Democrats.
Sarah Palin added her two cents to the public discussion by posting a note on Facebook — with her signature poetic subtlety — entitled, “If I Wanted America to Fail, I’d Ban Kids From Farm Work.” It has since been “liked” by over 8,000 people. In it she seethed:
The Obama Administration is working on regulations that would prevent children from working on our own family farms. This is more overreach of the federal government with many negative consequences. And if you think the government’s new regs will stop at family farms, think again.
Opposition to the updated regulations hinged on the argument that they would hurt family farms, stirring fears of the Feds swooping in to arrest Farmer Joe for sending Joe Jr. out to milk the cows in the morning. But the new rules would not have applied “to children working on farms owned by their parents,” as the U.S. Department of Labor clearly stated when it announced the proposed changes.
Rather, the regulations targeted specific types of high-risk work, such as pesticide and livestock handling, tobacco harvesting, and employment in grain silos. Last fall, when many child safety and labor advocates were optimistic about the proposed rules, we described the conditions these regulations were trying to change here on Grist:
[Child farm workers] often work with livestock, handle toxic pesticides, and run heavy machinery; the results are frequently catastrophic. In 2010 alone, five kids under 16 died in grain silo accidents where the corn acted like quicksand, sucking them down and suffocating them within minutes. In July, two 14-year-old girls were electrocuted by an irrigation system. According to Human Rights Watch, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that out of the 35 children who died of work-related injuries in 2010, 19 had been working in crop production.
Teen agricultural workers already operate under different standards from their counterparts bussing tables and bagging groceries — farmworkers can get a job before age 16 and put in much longer hours. Currently you only have to be 16 to perform “hazardous work” in agricultural employment, compared to 18 in other types of jobs. The new rules would not have constituted some sweeping new mandate; but by adjusting what counts as “hazardous work,” they would have created the first updates to this set of regulations since 1970.
We wouldn’t want standards for non-agricultural labor to come from an era when electric typewriters and Xerox machines represented cutting-edge technology and most female office workers wore pantyhose and pumps — so why shouldn’t we expect regulations for farm work to keep up with the times as well?
But — like Palin — people from all over the industrial agriculture world stayed on message in the media, beginning last fall, when headlines read, “Child labor change under fire in farm country” and “Labor Dept.’s overreach could threaten life on the farm.” Even somewhat progressive sources like Natural News reported that the laws would somehow “criminalize small farmers” and drive them away from the land.
And this media storm worked. The Labor Department’s statement announcing its withdrawal of the rules played directly to false claims that the regulations threatened family farms: “The Obama administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations.”
Children on family farms have always been exempt from labor regulations, the assumption being that, in addition to learning the family business, they’re probably much safer anyway when working alongside mom and pop. Nothing changes for those kids, and for now, nothing will change for the others kids, either — the ones who are four times more likely to be killed while performing farm work than those in all other industries combined — toiling under miserable conditions to support their own families and put food on America’s table.


San Francisco ChronicleGenetically modified crops' results raise concern

    Monday, April 30, 2012

Washington -- Biotechnology's promise to feed the world did not anticipate "Trojan corn," "super weeds" and the disappearance of monarch butterflies.
But in the Midwest and South - blanketed by more than 170 million acres of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton - an experiment begun in 1996 with approval of the first commercial genetically modified organisms is producing questionable results.
Those results include vast increases in herbicide use that have created impervious weeds now infesting millions of acres of cropland, while decimating other plants, such as milkweeds that sustain the monarch butterflies. Food manufacturers are worried that a new corn made for ethanol could damage an array of packaged food on supermarket shelves.
Some farm groups have joined environmentalists in an attempt to slow down approvals of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, as a newly engineered corn, resistant to another potent herbicide, stands on the brink of approval.

Vote on labels

In November, Californians are likely to vote on a ballot initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods, which backers of the measure say would give consumers a voice over the technology that they lack now.
The initiative is part of a nationwide drive to thwart the Obama administration's expected clearance of a new genetically modified corn that could flood the nation's cornfields with 2,4-D, a 1940s-era herbicide used mainly on lawns and golf courses to kill broadleaf weeds.
More than a million people have signed a petition to the Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of genetically engineered food. That is "more than twice the number who have ever commented on any food petition in the history of the FDA," said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of organic yogurt maker Stonyfield and a leader of the "Just Label It" campaign.
The stakes on labeling such foods are huge. The crops are so widespread that an estimated 70 percent of U.S. processed foods contain engineered genes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved more than 80 genetically engineered crops while denying none.

Mushy corn feared

Organic farmers have long fought the spread of such crops, fearing pollen contamination of their fields. Environmentalists have warned of long-term health and environmental effects.
Now, even biotech supporters fear collateral damage. Vegetable growers warn of plant-killing fogs that they say will accompany the new genetically modified corn. Snack and cereal makers fear that a new corn engineered for ethanol may escape its fields and turn their corn chips and breakfast cereals to mush.
Midwest fruit and vegetable growers this month petitioned the Department of Agriculture to block approval of the 2,4-D-tolerant corn, called Enlist and made by Dow AgroSciences. Similar crops, including a soybean engineered by Monsanto to tolerate dicamba, a similar herbicide, wait in the regulatory pipeline.
Current forms of the herbicides are prone to vaporization and can travel miles from their target, falling back to Earth with rain or fog. Vegetable growers predict the new corn will unleash rampant use of 2,4-D and dicamba, potentially damaging every broadleaf plant in their path other than those engineered to tolerate them.
"Suddenly we are looking at a very dangerous system, because more dangerous herbicides in America are going to be far more extensively used," said John Bode, executive director of the Save Our Crops Coalition, a group working to protect nontargeted plants from herbicides. It has asked the USDA to conduct a full environmental impact analysis.

Preliminary OK

The USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, which has chief regulatory authority over genetically engineered crops, has given a preliminary recommendation that the new corn be fully commercialized without restriction.
Michael Gregoire, who heads the agency, said any genetically modified crop that does not meet the definition of a "plant pest," which attacks other plants, falls outside the agency's authority.
"Once we determine that a genetically engineered plant is not a plant pest based on a risk assessment, our jurisdiction and our authority to continue to regulate that ends," Gregoire said.
The Environmental Protection Agency has found that 2,4-D poses "a reasonable certainty of no harm," but will evaluate the effects of using it with genetically modified crops later in the growing season after plants have leafed out and temperatures are higher.
If approved, the new corn could be planted as early as next spring. Charles Benbrook - a former head of the agriculture board of the National Academy of Sciences who is chief scientist of the Organic Center, a Colorado group that researches the environmental benefits of organic farming - projects a 1,435 percent increase in the amount of 2,4-D applied, or 283 million pounds, within seven years.

Hardier weeds evolve

Corn and soybean farmers are clamoring for the new genetically engineered crops because those now in use have spawned an infestation of "super weeds" now covering at least 13 million acres in 26 states. The crops are engineered to tolerate glyphosate, commonly known by its Monsanto trademark Roundup. They greatly simplified weed control by allowing farmers to apply the herbicide to their fields yet leave their corn and soybeans unharmed.
The crops led to a 400-million-pound net increase in herbicide applications throughout corn, soybean and cotton growing regions, according to Benbrook.
The resulting overexposure to glyphosate encouraged the evolution of hardier weeds that can tolerate it. Dave Mortensen, a weed ecologist at Pennsylvania State University, said the number of "super weed" species grew from one in 1996, when genetically modified crops were introduced, to 22 today.
Scientists warn that the next generation of genetically modified crops will likewise encourage overuse of 2,4-D and dicamba, creating still hardier weeds that can tolerate virtually every herbicide on the market.
"It's like pouring gasoline on a fire," Benbrook said.
"We're talking about a lot of pesticide," Mortensen said. "Whether it moves as a vapor or physical drift or surface water runoff or comes down in rainwater, the more of something you use, the greater the likelihood you will see it appearing in places where you did not apply it."
Mortensen worries that 2,4-D and dicamba will damage not just fruit and vegetable crops, but also wild plants on field edges that harbor pollinators. In the Midwest, where there is little plant diversity, "those field edges become critically important reservoirs for hosting beneficial insects," Mortensen said.

Butterflies in decline

Last month, scientists definitively tied heavy use of glyphosate to an 81 percent decline in the monarch butterfly population. It turns out that the herbicide has obliterated the milkweeds on Midwest corn farms where the monarchs lay their eggs after migrating from Mexico.
Iowa State University ecologist John Pleasants, one of the study's authors, said the catastrophic decline in monarchs is a consequence of the genetically engineered crops that no one foresaw.
Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit group that has waged a litigation battle against biotechnology companies, said the new crops are part of "a chemical arms race, where biotechnology met Charles Darwin."
Dow AgroSciences spokesman Garry Hamlin said the company has created new formulas for 2,4-D that reduce vaporization by 92 percent and that farmers using the new corn will be obligated to use the new formulation. Dow will also train farmers to make sure they correctly use the new seed and herbicide package, which Hamlin said is needed.
"Farmers haven't been able to control certain difficult weeds because of resistance," Hamlin said. "That resistance issue is going to get worse if the new technology doesn't come into play to intercept it."

Food makers worry

Food manufacturers and grain millers lost a three-year battle at the USDA against a new genetically modified corn approved last year for ethanol. Hailed by ethanol backers as "Trojan corn," it turns its own starch to sugar and so speeds the process of making ethanol to fuel cars. Food manufacturers worry that even a tiny contamination of food corn by the new crop could turn their corn chips and cereals soggy.
Made by Swiss-based Syngenta under the trademark Enogen, the corn was approved over the objections of the biggest names in the U.S. snack and cereals industry. Syngenta tests show that one kernel in 10,000 can liquefy grits.
Jack Bernens, head of marketing for Syngenta, said products like corn puffs can have as much as 14 percent contamination before the foods would show any change in consistency. He said strict contracts with farmers and a sophisticated set of controls will keep the corn contained. Contamination is unlikely, he said, because of the wide geographical separation between ethanol and food-corn regions.
Still, food manufacturers and grain millers remain worried that the corn will spread through pollen or inadvertent mixing. Genetically modified crops have escaped at least six times in the past, according to a 2008 General Accounting Office report, in one case leading to produce recalls and more than $1 billion in losses to rice farmers. The agency said that "the ease with which genetic material from crops can be spread makes future releases likely."
For food manufacturers, the ethanol corn that dissolves starches is "a disaster about to happen," said Lynn Clarkson, president of Clarkson Grain, a grain dealer in Cerro Gordo, Ill.
"We are face to face with a corn that won't process the way it's processed for the last 150 years," Clarkson said. "We have a corn that ruins food for starch uses. If it goes into shipments to Japan, if you were the Japanese, would you want to be buying from an area that grew this corn, that approved this corn?"
Carolyn Lochhead is the San Francisco Chronicle's Washington correspondent.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Fed by Broken Food System, Health Plummets as Costs Soar

As America's waistline expands, costs soar as health plummets

- Common Dreams staff
An over-weight individual is not necessarily more unhealthy than one who is slimmer, but the epidemic of obesity in the US and the dire health consequences of a 'fast food nation', supported by an industrial farm system are putting enormous strains on the lives of millions and helping to explode costs in an already inefficient health care system. The trend towards increased obesity occurs throughout the society, but is perhaps most troubling perhaps for the impact its having on school children.
Joe Culpepper has his waist measured in a scene from the documentary 'The Weight of the Nation.' (Jessica Dimmock, HBO) "Today, two-thirds of U.S. adults and nearly one in three children struggle because they are overweight or have obesity," says the Campaign to Prevent Obesity, who recently released a new report tracking the relationship between the obesity epidemic and rising healthcare costs.  "The effects of the nation’s obesity epidemic are immense:  taxpayers, businesses, communities and individuals spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year due to obesity, including an estimated $168 billion in medical costs.  Obesity is the reason that the current generation of youth is predicted to live a shorter life than their parents."
Asked to comment, John Hoffman, executive producer of The Weight of the Nation, a new four-part HBO documentary, says the most important thing to know is that this crisis is wholly preventable, but that the "consequences of not acting, boldly, systemically and decisively, are dire."
"We need to work together to make some big changes to the systems that govern the food we grow," says Hoffman in an interview with USA Today. "The economies that drive the food we manufacture; the policies that regulate what we market and serve, particularly to kids; the values we place on the overall quality of the schools to which we send our children; the design of our communities, parks and roads so they promote health; and the perspective of our health care system so that it's focused on preventing illness from happening, rather than just treating it once it develops."
*  *  *
U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.
The nation's rising rate of obesity has been well-chronicled. But businesses, governments and individuals are only now coming to grips with the costs of those extra pounds, many of which are even greater than believed only a few years ago: The additional medical spending due to obesity is double previous estimates and exceeds even those of smoking, a new study shows.
Many of those costs have dollar signs in front of them, such as the higher health insurance premiums everyone pays to cover those extra medical costs. Other changes, often cost-neutral, are coming to the built environment in the form of wider seats in public places from sports stadiums to bus stops.
The startling economic costs of obesity, often borne by the non-obese, could become the epidemic's second-hand smoke. Only when scientists discovered that nonsmokers were developing lung cancer and other diseases from breathing smoke-filled air did policymakers get serious about fighting the habit, in particular by establishing nonsmoking zones. The costs that smoking added to Medicaid also spurred action. Now, as economists put a price tag on sky-high body mass indexes (BMIs), policymakers as well as the private sector are mobilizing to find solutions to the obesity epidemic.
"As committee chairmen, Cabinet secretaries, the head of Medicare and health officials see these really high costs, they are more interested in knowing, 'what policy knob can I turn to stop this hemorrhage?'" said Michael O'Grady of the National Opinion Research Center, co-author of a new report for the Campaign to End Obesity, which brings together representatives from business, academia and the public health community to work with policymakers on the issue.
The U.S. health care reform law of 2010 allows employers to charge obese workers 30 percent to 50 percent more for health insurance if they decline to participate in a qualified wellness program. The law also includes carrots and celery sticks, so to speak, to persuade Medicare and Medicaid enrollees to see a primary care physician about losing weight, and funds community demonstration programs for weight loss.
"The startling economic costs of obesity, often borne by the non-obese, could become the epidemic's second-hand smoke. Only when scientists discovered that nonsmokers were developing lung cancer and other diseases from breathing smoke-filled air did policymakers get serious about fighting the habit..."
Such measures do not sit well with all obese Americans. Advocacy groups formed to "end size discrimination" argue that it is possible to be healthy "at every size," taking issue with the findings that obesity necessarily comes with added medical costs.
The reason for denominating the costs of obesity in dollars is not to stigmatize plus-size Americans even further. Rather, the goal is to allow public health officials as well as employers to break out their calculators and see whether programs to prevent or reverse obesity are worth it.
*  *  *
Q: What is it going to take to reverse the obesity epidemic?
A: The obesity epidemic is not a natural disaster that we can't do anything about. This national crisis is completely preventable.
We live in a world where there's an abundance of cheap calories, and we have foods high in sugar and fat at arm's reach at almost all times.
Big decisions made by the food industry, agriculture and government have a huge impact on the little decisions we make about what we reach for when we're hungry and how long we sit at our desks and in our cars.
Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned?
A: Over the course of human evolution, there has never been any reason to limit our food intake. In fact, it's the opposite. Because we need food to survive, we are genetically programmed to love it. There may be as many as 100 genes that favor food-seeking behavior. And we evolved a system to favor fat deposition as a buffer against times of scarcity. … But in a world full of burger joints, pizza parlors and vending machines, our biological imperative to store fat whenever we can may instead pose a threat to our survival.
Q: If you could wave a magic wand and make a change, what would it be?
A: Remove all sugared beverages from our diet. Our bodies are not adapted for that rush of liquid calories. It's clear they're driving a lot of obesity and a contributor to diabetes.
Q: What else did you learn?
A: Even after 10 years of maintaining a significant weight loss, the body doesn't readjust. Your brain still thinks you're in a state of deprivation, and it manipulates your body in ways you don't even notice: You're hungrier, less easily satisfied, and more frequently tempted by sweet and fatty foods; you are less inclined to exercise.
Losing weight and keeping it off requires a renovation of your entire life for the remainder of your life.
Q: What actions/policies would help the most?
A: We need to work together to make some big changes to the systems that govern the food we grow; the economies that drive the food we manufacture; the policies that regulate what we market and serve, particularly to kids; the values we place on the overall quality of the schools to which we send our children; the design of our communities, parks and roads so they promote health; and the perspective of our health care system so that it's focused on preventing illness from happening, rather than just treating it once it develops.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Why You Should Be Worried About the California Mad Cow Case

| Fri Apr. 27, 2012 10:50 AM PDT
Move along, nothing to see here.
That sums up the USDA's public reaction to news that a downed California dairy cow was discovered to have contracted bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease. The cow had an "atypical" case of BSE, one that likely doesn't come from BSE-infected feed, but rather from a genetic mutation, the agency insists.
Moreover, it never came close to entering the food supply, USDA stressed—it had shown up dead at a rendering facility, where it was randomly chosen for testing as part of the USDA's BSE-testing program. USDA chief Tom Vilsack, ever ready to jump to the meat industry's aid at a time of need, declared on CNN, "I'm having beef tonight for dinner. And that's no lie."
Global food and health agencies echoed the USDA's assessment, Bloomberg reports: "The U.S. finding of a case of mad cow disease shows the country’s surveillance system is working, according to the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organization and the World Organisation for Animal Health."
Let me raise two uncomfortable points about this case.
• The idea that the discovery of this BSE-stricken cow proves that the US "surveillance system is working" is, well, ludicrous. The cow showed up at Baker Commodities, a California company plant that buys spent cows from California's vast dairy industry and renders them into various pet and livestock feed products.
Here's how a Baker executive described the discovery to Business Week:
"We randomly pick a number of samples throughout the year, and this just happened to be one that we randomly sampled," Baker Commodities executive vice president Dennis Luckey said. "It showed no signs" of disease.
So when the rendering plant picked up the infected cow, it was just another dead cow to be rendered. However, in an update released Thursday afternoon, the USDA revealed that the animal was "humanely euthanized" on the dairy farm where it lived, "after it developed lameness and became recumbent." Apparently, the dairy farm did not communicate with the rendering plant that the cow had gone lame, and thus was a good candidate for BSE infection.
Altogether, the USDA program tests about 40,000 cows a year for mad cow—a tiny fraction of the millions that are slaughtered or otherwise die each year. (Bloomberg puts the portion tested annually at "less than 0.1 percent of the U.S. cattle herd.") By contrast, in the European Union, all sick or downed cattle over the age of 4 years old, all healthy cows over six years, are tested before being slaughtered or rendered. The California cow, the USDA said in its Thursday statement, was 10 years and seven months old—so it would have been automatically tested in Europe.
The USDA currently tests less than 0.1 percent of the US cattle herd for Mad Cow Disease.
So rather than representing a triumph of the system, the California discovery represents a lucky break. Other BSE-infected cows could be getting rendered into livestock and pet feed, and no one would know.

As Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist at Consumers Union, put it in a statement, "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."
• The California cow's BSE might have come from feed—and cows are still being fed cow protein. Now, as noted above, the USDA reports that the California case had "atypical" BSE, which, it says, is thought to derive spontaneously, not from feed. "USDA confirmed the animal was positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed," the USDA wrote in a Wednesday statement. In a Friday morning email, a USDA press officer confirmed to me that the atypical BSE in question is of the L-type, which, as I showed in my last post, has been shown under lab conditions to be far more virulent than what scientists call "classical" BSE, the kind that wrought havoc in the UK in the 1990s.
The feed question is vital. If the cow indeed developed BSE through some genetic mutation and not through feed, then this particular mad cow instance can be viewed as a random and extremely rare event. But if feed was the pathway, then we have to ask hard—and for the dairy and beef industries, extremely uncomfortable—questions about just what we're feeding our nation's vast herd of cows. And if that cow contracted BSE from what it ate, wouldn't other cows have been exposed, too?
Paul Brown, a scientist retired from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, questions the USDA's assertion that atypical BSE isn't associated with feed. "The most likely explanation is that it arises from the same source as typical BSE," he said, which is infected feed. He added that it's a "theoretical possibility" that the California BSE case arose spontaneously, but "there's no evidence for it."
Linda Detwiler, a clinical professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine at Mississippi State University, told me via phone that the current scientific thinking is that "atypical" BSE types do probably arise spontaneously, but "feed certainly can't be ruled out." Ermias Belay, associate director for epidemiological science at the CDC's  Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, echoed that assessment in a phone interview.
Now, back in 1997, in response to the UK mad cow crisis, the FDA banned the longstanding practice of feeding rendered cow protein to cows, and in 2008 banned "the tissues that have the highest risk for carrying the agent thought to cause BSE"—brains and spinal tissue from cows older than 30 months—from animal feed altogether.
But there is still at least one pathway through which cow proteins move into cow feed: the practice of feeding "poultry litter"—poultry feces mixed with bedding, spilled feed, and chicken carcasses—to cows. How does that bring cow protein into cow diets?
Meat and bone meal from cows is explicitly banned from cow diets. But it ends up in chicken feed; a significant amount of it spills into bedding and ends up in poultry litter; and poultry litter gets fed back to cows.
Let's go back to that rendering plant in California, Baker Commodities, where the current case of BSE was discovered. Rendering plants like Baker buy downed cows and other animals and transform them into a variety of products, including feed for chickens. Here's how it describes one of its products, "protein meal":
Meat and bone meal produced from the rendering process is used as a protein and energy supplement in poultry and swine feed and may also be utilized as an ingredient in the manufacture of pet food.
Now, meat and bone meal from cows is explicitly banned from cow diets. But it ends up in chicken feed; a significant amount of it spills into bedding and ends up in poultry litter; and poultry litter gets fed back to cows.
Official numbers on just how much poultry litter ends up in bovine diets is hard to come by. But with corn and soy prices at heightened levels in recent years, feedlot operators are always looking for cheaper alternatives, and poultry litter is very much in the mix. Consumer Union's Michael Hansen claims that 2 billion pounds of chicken litter are consumed by cows each year—as much as a third of which consists of spilled feed, including bovine meat and bone meal. The University of Missouri's agricultural-extension service explains chicken litter's appeal like this:
Beef cattle have the ability to digest low-cost feedstuffs that are not usable by other livestock species. One such feedstuff is poultry litter, which provides opportunities for both the poultry producer and the beef cattle producer. The large quantities of litter produced during modern poultry production are expensive to dispose of safely; moreover, protein is typically the most expensive ingredient in ruminant diets. Feeding poultry litter is a means of disposing of a waste product while concurrently supplying a low-cost protein feed to beef cattle.
It's important to note that the dairy industry, too, utilizes chicken litter.
Now, it's also important to note, as I wrote above, that the FDA banned the use of "the tissues that have the highest risk for carrying the agent thought to cause BSE"—brains and spinal tissue from cows older than 30 months—from being rendered into any animal feed, including chicken feed, in 2008.
But other cow parts can also carry the infections. For classical BSE, Detwiler told me that "current research shows that the infection moves from the intestines up to the spinal column through the nerves." Tonsils, too, can carry the infection. Intestines, nerve tissue, and tonsils, of course, are fair game to be rendered into chicken feed. "In essence, you're allowing ruminant protein to be fed back to ruminants," she said.
As for atypical L-type BSE, like the one found in California, "we're just really starting to get results on that—we just don't know" what parts are infectious. She said some evidence has arisen suggesting that lymphoid tissue in cows infected with atypical BSE have "abnormal prion protein."
Detwiler pointed to the European Commission's feed ban as a better way to keep all bovine protein out of bovine diets. It lays out a simple principle for keeping cow protein out of cow diets: it prohibits the "use of processed animal protein (PAP) in feed for farmed animals."
"If I had my druthers, poultry litter would not be allowed in cow feed," she said.
Detwiler raises another important point regarding feed. Even if the case of BSE in California arose spontaneously—and even if atypical BSE in general has so far been arising spontaneously when it has been found in Europe—it also seems to be quite infectious. As the CDC's Belay told me, "all of these prion-related diseases are transmissible through infected material."  If that infected cow in California hadn't been randomly selected for testing, it could have ended up being rendered for poultry feed—and ultimately fed back to cattle.
But even more than the chicken-litter issue, what concerns Detwiler is the issue of compliance. "There hadn't been a case in six years," she pointed out. "Hopefully, [rendering plants] are removing brains and spinal columns with care," she said. "There's a tendency with anything to let the guard down—my message would be that we really can't get complacent on this issue."
While the USDA is downplaying the public health ramifications of the California BSE case, US public health officials should see it as a kick in the pants. It's time to ramp up the testing of cows—and Europe has proven it can be done economically. And it's time to ban all cow protein from animal feed—or, at the very least, get chicken litter out of cow diets.


droughtcracks 220x137 Sorry Gates: GMO Crops Proven to be Ineffective at Fighting World HungerSorry Gates: GMO Crops Proven to be Ineffective at Fighting World Hunger

Anthony Gucciardi
March 2, 2012
Monsanto shareholder Bill Gates has argued that GMOs are the solution to world hunger, going as far as to say that they are actually needed to fight worldwide starvation. Unfortunately for Gates, who back in 2010 bought 500,000 shares of the company he is now promoting in mainstream media as the solution to the world’s problems, a team of 900 scientists have found that GMO crops are actually not effective at fighting world hunger. In fact, the massive team found that Monsanto’s seeds, which have lead to thousands of farmer suicides due to excessive costs and failure to yield crops, were outperformed by traditional “agro-ecological” farming practices.
Funded by the World Bank and United Nations, an organization was created known as the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). Consisting of 900 scientists and researchers, they set out to examine the complex issue of world hunger. While the issue of world hunger may be quite complex, their results were not. Quite plainly, the group found that genetically modified crops were not a meaningful solution to the problem. In other words, the expert team showed through rigorous analysis and repeated study that the claims made by Bill Gates are completely inaccurate.
Perhaps what is most compelling, though, is the fact that Bill Gates was fully aware of these findings before going on air to inform the public that GMOs are the solution to world hunger. The same GMOs that have been linked to organ damage, mutated insects, and a host of other issues.

Bill Gates Knew of These Findings Beforehand

The findings of the IAASTD regarding the ineffectiveness of GMO crops were published on April 15, 2008. That is long before Bill Gates’ address to the public in late January of this year. Did Monsanto stockholder Gates ignore this information, or does he believe the 900 scientists to be incorrect? Perhaps the evidence generated from the expert team is not enough. In that case, then Gates should look no farther than the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Another massive research organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists also examined the true yield of GMO crops, only to find that the altered crops do not produce increased yields over the long run — despite their excessive cost and extreme danger to health and environment. The lack of scientific support behind the GMO crops was so startling to the Union that they documented all the details in a 2009 report entitled ”Failure to Yield.”
GMO crops are not only ineffective at fighting world hunger, but are a genuine threat to public health. Even if they were effective at feeding more individuals than traditional farming practices, would they really want to consume it? Bill Gates appears to have the interests of massive corporations in mind when perpetuating the myth that GMOs are the answer to fighting starvation.
Explore More:
  1. Monsanto Investor Bill Gates Says GMO Crops Needed to Fight Starvation
  2. World Bank Nominee Tied to Monsanto Shareholder Bill Gates, Soros
  3. GMO Crops Continually Banned Around the World in Display of Health Freedom
  4. Bill Gates Foundation Buys 500,000 Shares of Monsanto
  5. How the Bill Gates Foundation is Genetically Manipulating Nature and Devastating Our Health
  6. Bill Gates Foundation Funds Experimental Insect Repellent

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