Washington DC: GMOs Triumph Over Law


B. McPherson
Is this the future of our food?

In an end around move, the Democratic representative, Senator Barbara Mikulski, has championed a clause buried in the US budget that would negate the powers of the judiciary when it comes to banning the planting of certain GM(genetically modified) crops.

In the past, some judges have stopped or slowed the release into the environment of GM seeds. The new rider inserted into law will allow transgenic seeds to be planted before the US Department of Agriculture has assessed their environmental impact. 

The rider pertains to transgenic crops that have been deregulated by the USDA but then had that approval overturned by a judge — a scenario that has occurred with genetically engineered alfalfa and sugar beets.
In such a situation, the agency “shall” immediately issue permits or a partial deregulation order that would temporarily allow farmers to continue growing and selling the crop until USDA is done re-evaluating its environmental effects, according to the rider. Food Safety News

Once the seeds have been planted, there is no calling them back. Cross pollination with nonGM and organically grown crops begins almost immediately. The biotech companies are zealous in protecting the value of their patented seeds and prosecute farmers whose crops are contaminated by these seeds with alien genes. Some crops, like SmartStax corn, have multiple foreign genes inserted into them.

The promise of GM crops is that there will be a greater yield and greater profit for the farmer. While the early GM corn produced by Monsanto was resistant to the herbicide Roundup(glyphosate) also produced by Monsanto, as the years have passed, more applications and higher concentrations of herbicide have been necessary to get the same effect. In the meantime, natural selection has gifted the world with SuperWeeds, weeds that resist applications of herbicide. These SuperWeeds plague GM farmers and organic farmers alike.

These designer crops require special chemical fertilizers and also require large amounts of water – both costly. Seed must be purchased each year as no patented seed is allowed to be saved. The crop must be sold to the biotech company that produced the seed. The farm is subject to unannounced inspections by the biotech reps. 

For many the golden promise of financial rewards by growing the GM crops has become a deadly lie. After the promise of GM cotton failed to deliver, an epidemic of farmers’ suicides in India took place. The law allowed for a cessation of debts upon death. So many impoverished farmers killed themselves that lawmakers considered changing it.

The release of genetically altered seeds into the environment is a massive uncontrolled experiment. Some inserted genes make the plant poisonous to bees and butterflies – even the pollen is poisonous. The unfettered application of herbicides and pesticides onto soil gradually changes the soil biome, killing off many beneficial organisms.

There are social upheavals associated with the establishment of industrial farms. Argentina is currently undergoing a soybean revolution where cattle are being replaced by mega farms. People who live on small estanzas are being displaced as well, some at the point of a gun.

The health effects of GM produce is not known. Food containing GM product is not labelled as such so the public generally does not know if they are eating altered food. The biotech companies have infiltrated so much of our food supply that even well produced and vetted organically labelled foods may contain traces of it.

Scientists cannot study a GM organism without permission of the biotech company that owns it.

Biotech is big business. The following table is excerpted from GM Watch
2007 Figures
Source: ETC Group
1.Monsanto (US) - $4,964m - 23%
 2.DuPont (US) - $3,300m - 15%
 3.Syngenta (Switzerland) - $2,018m - 9%
 4.Groupe Limagrain (France) - $1,226m - 6%
 5.Land O' Lakes (US) - $917m - 4%
 6.KWS AG (Germany) - $702m - 3%
 7.Bayer Crop Science (Germany) - $524m - 2%
 8.Sakata (Japan) - $396m - <2% 
  9.DLF-Trifolium (Denmark) - $391m - <2%
 10.Takii (Japan) - $347m - <2%
 Top 10 Total - $14,785m - 67% [of global proprietary seed market]
 Source: ETC Group

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