Posts Tagged ‘Monsanto Legislation’

GMO Labeling Initiative in WA State

With the upcoming (November 5) vote on the GMO Labeling Initiative in Washington State, I wanted to collect and link to some of the most thoughtful articles from previously undecided voters, stores and health watch organizations. I realize that many of my own blog readers already eat organic foods and have their own opinion about GMO labels or bans. Given the confusing smear campaign of lies from big, out of state corporations, I wanted to offer information from real voters and organizations who’ve done their research. Please share with anyone you know who lives in Washington State, as GMO labels in Washington would likely result in GMO labels across the US. Many thanks!

1. My Vote on the I-522 GMO Food Labeling Initiative in Washington and Why

This is an excellent post from someone who originally signed the YES petition, then began to doubt her signature due to all the negative ads on TV. After pulling back and doing more research, actually talking to local farmers and delving into the true or false claims of those ads, this blogger shares her own process of how she returned to feeling confident about a YES vote. This one’s definitely worth a read by anyone who has felt similar pulls one way or the other, especially after the barrage of attack ads and scare tactics from the NO side.

2. Another excellent, well-researched explanation of how a regular voter came to an informed yes vote Some highlights include:

“GMOs were added to our foods in 1994 without our knowledge and consent. The GE food is processed in a sterile laboratory and complex technological environment, far away from farmers’ greenhouses and the good earth. The DNA of a plant or animal with bacteria or another microbes serving as genome carriers is bombarded into the DNA of another plant or animal at speeds reaching 600 mph. Eventually the DNA intruders attach to host DNA to achieve the desired recombined traits of both.”

“It is also important to understand a little bit about the companies who research and manufacture GMOs. They are chemical companies such as Monsanto and Dow Chemical. Their products include many banned toxins such as DDT, Agent Orange, Napalm, PCB and Bovine Growth Hormone.” …

“Included in the sustainable agriculture movement was an increasing awareness of the potential harm of GMOs in our food supply. Fueling the movement by activists and experts alike; were the proven harmful effects of GMOs on human health. Until now, the FDA had accepted industry’s word alone, that GMOs were safe. Despite the economic prowess of the chemical companies in the media, independent testing was done of GMO corn. The results were definitive that GE corn fed to rats caused abnormalities including tumors, allergies, digestive problems, liver failure and death.

“A largely unknown fact about GMOs is U.S. states with GMOs are banned from trading such food products with 15 countries and in 49 of US’s major trading partners require labeling. Consumers demanded and succeeded in having foods contaminated with GMOs labeled as such.” …

“Let’s look at advocates for labeling and voting Yes on I-522. What is their rebuttal? They say labeling will give consumers more information about our food so we can make informed choices. They want full disclosure on the label, a privilege enjoyed by 49 other countries without cost to consumers. The truth is labeling changes are made with a simple keystroke and changing labels is a common practice. Solving hunger? Well, even Third World countries have banned GMOs! Not exactly solving a hunger problem, is it? Lastly, the text of I-522 does explain what the bill exactly covers. This bill is designed to satisfy legislative requirements.

“What else is the well-funded no campaign not saying about GE food products?

“Transnational chemical corporations such as Monsanto behave as entitled Medieval fiefdoms, are litigious, and have already sued growers for patent infringement when Monsanto GE seeds germinate and grow on neighbor’s fields. Farmers are not allowed to save GE seeds. With an increasing influence on global trade and patented seed, farmers in India the suicide has reached the thousands each year as noted earlier. Around the world, larger Big Agra farms are devouring smaller farms and putting many farmers out of business. The heavy use of chemical pesticides and herbicides is polluting our groundwater and creating super weeds that require stronger herbicides to rid them. These issues are among the ones that we need to consider.

“Should chemical companies and farms be allowed to operate in secrecy or be required to fully disclose food additives that have their DNA re-defined beyond recognition to potentially become food allergens? And more importantly, will our growing awareness of technology serve corporate profits or will it help us cultivate and cherish ourselves in service of the planet and humankind?”

3. Why I’m Voting Yes on Initiative 522

The article begins, “Food labels changed my life. It sounds dramatic, but I genuinely believe I would be leading a completely different life if not for mandated food labeling. The day I began flipping to the back of packages was the day I began losing weight; it was the day my life changed course from fat, sick and tired to vibrant, active, and balanced. Straightforward and uniform food labels changed my life – for the better.” The author goes on to make several excellent points:

“The No on I-522 campaign has tried using its advertising to scare and confuse voters about the costs associated with the passage of this initiative. One of their primary messages cites an increase in the cost of groceries when new language is added to commercial packaging. Let’s think about this in terms of common sense. The last time you were in a grocery store, I’ll bet there were numerous cereal or snack food boxes with marketing images from a current or upcoming movie and beverage cans with football season images. Packaging changes All-The-Time!” …

“In another of their television commercials, the ‘no’ campaign argues that requiring labeling would be against the national standard. (Had I been sipping something when I first heard the ad liquid would have assuredly splattered out of my nose.) Of course adding this language would be “against the national standard”; when it comes to labeling GMOs, there is no national standard and huge food science corporations are funneling big bucks into the ‘No’ campaign’s marketing to keep it that way. Funny, though, they neglect to mention the international standard. Around the world, 64 countries require this very type of retail package labeling. In fact, those very same corporations that are paying for the ‘no’ votes sell products in those 64 countries with this labeling when appropriate.”

4. A Short Letter from a Parent:

“To the editor — I’ve been called a health nut and an exercise freak, but what I’ve never been known as is a radical. For instance, I don’t think it’s radical to insist on knowing what’s in the food that I and my daughter eat. Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and Dupont — plus the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents more than 300 corporations, seem to think that it is a radical viewpoint, though. They’re spending millions fighting Initiative 522, which would allow all Washingtonians the right to know what’s in our food.

“My health is important to me. My daughter’s health is important to me. I can’t make informed choices if I don’t know what’s in the food she eats. As a parent, it’s my job to give her all the best that I’m able, for the few short years that I can. I jealously guard my right to do so, for my little girl’s sake. I know I’m not the only one.”

5. Information From the Washington Toxics Coalition

“We strongly believe consumers have the right to make informed decisions about the products they bring into their homes, and what they put into their bodies. These principles are what led to our decision to support Initiative 522, which will require the labeling of genetically engineered foods in Washington state.

“’Labeling genetically engineered foods is a common-sense solution that gives consumers the ability to make their own decisions.’ – Erika Schreder, Science Director, Washington Toxics Coalition

“In addition to giving consumers control over what they are feeding their families, we are concerned about the increased use of pesticides associated with GE crops. A WSU study published last year found farmers reliant on GE crops were increasing the volume of herbicides used by about 25% annually to deal with “superweeds” created by overuse. [Laura’s note: yes, that is a 25% increase in herbicide use PER YEAR. The famous Agent Orange is a herbicide produced by Monsanto. Pesticides and herbicides have been proven to cause cancer, birth defects and endocrine disruption, along with other suspected detrimental health effects.]

6. PCC Natural Market Weighs in on Labeling and I-522

PCC Natural Market in the Seattle area gives a nice breakdown of what would and would not be labeled, legal exemptions, other states’ efforts, as well as how GMO labeling would affect home gardeners and shoppers.

7. Central Co-Op in Seattle links to Recent GMO Labeling Headlines

I used to love this place when I lived in Seattle! The link above takes you to a page with recent GMO headlines, including articles that detail and explain the deception used by the NO campaign. This is an important resource for people who’ve mostly seen the scare and attack ads on TV, because it gives the facts about who’s contributing, as well as the sneakiness involved. As Sonja noted in the first article above, why the need for such deception? If the GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) can afford to dump millions into a NO campaign, why couldn’t they have just spent some of that money on labeling the food? Will food prices go up even without labeling due to all this money spent to hide what’s in that food? “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

8. Whole Foods Endorses YES on 522

This statement comes from the Pacific Northwest regional president. Whole Foods has taken a lot of heat from consumers about selling GMO foods in their “natural” stores. This statement explains why Whole Foods has openly supported the Washington Labeling Initiative since April.

Food Sovereignty Law Email Template

Please feel free to copy and modify this email for your federal, state and local representatives. I just sent it to everyone who represents me in Wisconsin, but I thought I’d share in case others want to make their voices heard, too. I believe anyone informed of this issue would want food sovereignty laws in their town and/or state; however, very few people, including those who represent us, have any idea how we feel. Here’s my letter, customized for WI:

Thank you for your service to the State of Wisconsin! I am writing to let you know that I support food sovereignty laws like those on the books in Marin County, California and Maine. Genetically Modified Foods (GM or GMO’s) present an increasing threat to our health, economy, freedom and safety. Monsanto uses intimidation, bullying and monopolizing tactics similar to the mafia. Do we really want them providing GM seeds that will then contaminate organic crops and allow Monsanto to sue WI family farmers for “patent infringement,” while simultaneously ruining their livelihood?

I am also concerned about the likelihood of a major famine, if we continue to allow monocrops and things like Roundup, which has been shown as a factor in the declining honey bee population. Without bees, natural pollination will be crippled. Roundup (a weedkiller) has also been found in trace amounts in commercially sold compost, with the effect of people’s gardens dying via “fertilizing agents.”

Monocrops present another threat, as they are prone to infestation or crop failure due to weather or other conditions. Having just one strain of any given food makes it more likely to have something destroy the delicate conditions necessary for growth. With everything else going on in the world right now, including rising food prices, do we really want to worry about monocrop failures, too?

On top of this, recent studies about GM foods show that some cause infertility and obesity. The DNA modifications used to make these “Frankenfoods” do not stop modifying once they leave the laboratory, yet federal law does not require labeling of GM foods. The idea is that consumers might avoid them if they knew things were genetically modified. I say, give consumers a choice! I also say, please keep Monsanto out of Wisconsin. Please support food sovereignty laws that allow your constituents to choose organic, healthy foods instead of laboratory created, DNA-altering, obesity producing pseudofoods that will ultimately cost WI citizens more money for health care, as well as put them at greater risk for famine.

In addition, WI is a key state for organic dairy, and the introduction of GM alfalfa here would contaminate organic alfalfa plants, thereby ruining organic dairy. (You are what you eat. If organic cows start eating GM’d alfalfa, they will soon become GM cows. Where does it stop?) The so-called Food Safety Law S510 does not protect consumers. Instead it gives the FDA rights to intimidate and attack natural health stores, small farmers, sellers of raw dairy (a known healing food), and anyone not in the pockets of the big pharmaceutical companies and other lobbyists.

Today’s population has become increasingly educated about natural remedies and higher quality food choices. Please allow your constituency to make educated choices, rather than selling us out to some company’s agenda. I also would request you to fight against the implementation of a special food tax that pays for the Food Safety Law S510. A better, more sustainable, consumer-friendly solution would be to repeal the law or make it invalid within the state of WI. Please support our freedom to choose what we put into our bodies.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Laura Bruno

[here’s another link with some very damning scientific evidence regarding Monsanto. Feel free to send it to your rep’s and/or work statistics into your own correspondence and articles.]

More Wisconsin Updates from Uncle Brad

Another post by Brad Palmer, who continues to send out his informative, inspiring emails all around the globe, including to me, his quasi-local niece. I’ve been busy contacting people about Monsanto, which has hired a lobbyist for Wisconsin. In case you missed my earlier posts about this, Monsanto is trying hard to preempt successful legislation for local food sovereignty like that in Maine and in Marin County. This same issue is up for vote in November in Sonoma County, too.

Essentially, while everyone’s busy looking at Japan, Scott Walker and Libya, Monsanto’s making a big push to make local food sovereignty illegal, so that they can come into states and control the entire food supply with GM Frankenfoods that continue to alter DNA and cause reproductive damage and other recently discovered (and still being researched) issues.

In ANY case, if you value access to organic foods, you really might want to get on this in your own town or state. Local food sovereignty laws protect towns and states from invasive monocrops and Monsanto thug intimidation tactics. (No, that’s not an exaggeration.) Oftentimes a bit of preparation, or in this case pre-emptive legislation, saves oodles and oodles of time and effort down the road. I’m not just a Lazy Raw Foodist. I’m kind of a lazy lots of things, so please consider this my heads up that it will be much easier to get your representatives to pass preemptive food sovereignty legislation than it will be to get Monsanto out once they’re in.

OK, off my Dr. Bronner’s Soap Box … and onto Brad Palmer’s report. Thanks, Uncle Brad, and thanks to everyone around the world and in Wisconsin — keeping the vibe high, but firm, and keeping the focus clear and positive. Much Love to everyone.

Hello, Street Fighters!!

OK, some of this is for non-Wisconsinites (we Badgers have already heard this good news), some of it for Badgers. The good news is, we won a round. Judge Sumi, the Dane County district judge that issued the original restraining order against the implementation of Walker and Fatzgerald’s (oops, another typo?), I mean, Fitzgerald’s ramrod of an illegal law, has issued a NEW restraining order to STOP any further implementation of the collective bargaining “law.” Sounds like the GOP pissed her off a little by ignoring (flaunting, really) her original order. They are, of course, going to fight this, but for now, a judge has ruled against them. The entire process is complicated, folks, involving who can publish the law to make it
a law. Walker said the Legislative Reference Bureau’s publication, bypassing the Secretary of State, made it law. By that reasoning, I suppose “Field and Stream” could have published it to satisfy them. Not so fast, thieves, even YOU have to obey the law once in a while.

I already emailed most of you regarding the Wisconsin signs in London’s huge demonstration, so we’re still international. Walker’s Janesville speech arrival tonight was greeted by “hundreds” of protesters who agree that they’ve had enough of him. They chanted for his recall. They outnumbered the guests inside.

My friend, Sheri, is sending these reports out EVERYWHERE, so while I’m humbled that such meager writings are making their way across the nation, I’m grateful she’s spreading the will of the people of Wisconsin, firing up our sister states–and countries; and getting some truth out there that the news media will not (for obvious reasons, they’re owned by corporations who pay little or no taxes–and they don’t want to.) Poland’s Solidarity organization sent support to Wisconsin via net a day or two ago. My personal thought is that even if Walker and his bandits somehow enact this hypocrisy, bad laws can be rescinded…..and we will do that. Oakland did so with a great song on YouTube, called simply, “Madison.”

The statewide prediction for the April 5, election in Wisconsin that pits Kloppenburg against Prosser is a 20% turnout. We have to do better than that, we can’t just rely on Madison. Compacency is our biggest enemy. We need to get EVERY eligible voter out there for Kloppenburg–not because she would rubber stamp everything we’re asking for, but because a Walker troglodyte would be ousted, and a message sent that the Republican senators are next, then Walker and the Republican 2012 representatives.

And so, my fellow democracy lovers, the battle continues. The recall effort has been heavy and tireless, and it continues with vigor. The recall elections will be even more difficult, for we must have viable candidates and successful campaigns. The Walker recall will require enormous support and work from us. BUT….we SHALL impose the will of the people of Wisconsin on the capitol, in Madison, and then all around the country. We can do this, we will do this…..because as you all know by now, WE ARE ALL WISCONSIN!! And so are you! Thank each one of you for whatever you do, you make up our strength. Just keep Wisconsin on your lips, and watch what we do. We’re going to make history.

Stay Strong, truth is our ally.
Be tireless and fearless, Walker and his ogres will not turn back unified Wisconsin.
We remain resolved….Solidarity.

Brad

Help Break Up Monsanto

I received this as an email from Food Democracy Now. It’s worth taking action on. If we band together, one way or another we will get this corporation out of our food chain! They’re sneaky, though. While everyone’s been focused on Libya and Japan, Monsanto’s been trying to slip through legislation that preempts towns and states from banning their entrance. (Read about the inspirational success of a town in Maine here. This is what Monsanto’s trying to prevent everywhere else.)

I believe in holding a positive vision for success, love, joy and happiness, but when a person discovers he or she has cancer, it’s time to take action–both building up health and finding ways to eject the cancerous cells. Monsanto is cancer of the Earth. Time to heal and thrive! The info and action link below represent one of many multi-tiered health approaches:

Last year the Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Agriculture held a series of 5 hearings investigating anti-competitive practices in the food and agricultural sectors. The hearings were historic and gave a vital opportunity for hundreds of thousands of America’s farmers, agricultural workers and citizens to call for an end to agribusiness’ excessive monopoly power. 1

Last December, Food Democracy Now! delivered more than 200,000 citizen comments to Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney with your demands to break up the worst abusers. 2

Nowhere are these abuses more prevalent than in the extreme market share enjoyed by the seed and chemical company Monsanto, which has a virtual stranglehold on seed supplies in crucial sectors that has severely limited farmers’ choice in what seeds they can buy. Monsanto’s control of the seed market is so high that 93% of soybeans, 82% of corn, 93% of cotton and 95% of sugarbeets grown in the U.S. contain Monsanto’s patented genes. 3 [Note from Laura: please consider boycotting these products whenever you can. Cancer cells can also be starved by denying them the sugar upon which they thrive. Americans, please stop being Monsanto’s sugar mama and sugar daddy! Buy sustainable hemp or bamboo instead of cotton, or at least opt for organic versions of the Monsanto-monopolized products.]

Not only is this level of market share allowing Monsanto to jack prices up on farmers because there’s no competition, but it also threatens our democracy as Monsanto uses their corporate power to influence our regulatory agencies, like the USDA, EPA and FDA, as well as Congress and the White House.

It’s time to fight back and the only way to do that is to make sure that the Department of Justice continues their investigation into Monsanto’s anti-competitive business practices.

Click on this link to automatically add your name to the letter asking for the Department of Justice to break up Monsanto. It’s time to stand up for farmers and our democracy. Tell the Department of Justice that it’s time to do what’s right!

Over the past two months the biotech industry has gotten their way in Washington with the approval of three new genetically modified (GMO) crops. First GMO alfalfa, then GMO sugar beets and most recently an industrial GMO corn for ethanol.4

The common link between these crops, except for the fact that they’re bad for farmers and the environment, is that they face virtually no oversight once they’re planted and their genes are allowed to contaminate neighboring fields and our food. These multinational corporations are not required to submit rigorous, independent peer reviewed studies prior to approval, but are allowed to submit their own corporate science to the federal government for approval.

To date, no petitions for approval of GMO crops have been denied. The only way to reign in the abuse that determines the quality and safety of the food that you and your family consume is to put pressure on the Department of Justice is to make sure that they follow through on their investigations into Monsanto’s abusive practices.

Last year seven state attorneys general launched an investigation into whether or not Monsanto “has abused its market power to lock out competitors and raise prices” while the DOJ is investigating anti-competitive practices with Monsanto’s marketing abuses in limiting access to seeds for farmers and competitors through manipulative contracts.5

It’s time to end Monsanto’s abuses, tell the DOJ to do their job and complete this investigation. It’s clear that abuses of farmer’s rights are taking place and the U.S. government needs to stand up to them now!

Click on this link to automatically add your name to the letter calling for the DOJ to protect our democracy and break up Monsanto!

Thanks for taking action — your support is greatly appreciated! We need your help to keep the pressure on! If you can, please consider chipping in as little as $10 to help us (Food Democracy Now) continue this fight.

We rely on folks like you to keep us going. Thanks again for your support.

Thank you for participating in food democracy —

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team

Sources:

1. “DOJ’S Holder Calls for Historic Era of Antitrust Enforcement in Agriculture”, March 16, 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/352?akid=303.258991.RtHu2-&t=14

2. “Your Voices Were Heard Loud and Clear in DC this Week, Thanks for Standing Up for Family Farmers”, Food Democracy Now!, December 10, 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/353?akid=303.258991.RtHu2-&t=16

3. “Monsanto’s Dominance Draws Antitrust Inquiry” Washington Post, November 29, 2009.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/354?akid=303.258991.RtHu2-&t=18

4. “Update: Obama Goes Rogue on GMOs, Tell Him to Say NO to Monsanto”, Food Democracy Now!, February 15, 2011.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/355?akid=303.258991.RtHu2-&t=20

5. “Monsanto 7-State Probe Threatens Profit From Gene in 93% of Soy”, Bloomberg, March 10, 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/356?akid=303.258991.RtHu2-&t=22