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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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Labeling Is Not the Only Thing About GMOs We Don’t Know

HealthyAeon - 4:22 AM

Genetic modification of plants—along with cloning of animals, remember Dolly the Sheep (1996)—has been going on without apparent second thoughts being given to the ramifications of what such technological advances do to the biosphere.

Recently, concerned citizens have taken a second look at GMO technology relative to the toxic chemicals used in the development of genetically modified food and seeds, plus their application in the environment. Currently, the Hawaiian island of Kauai County Council voted 6 to 1 on a bill that requires agriculture companies to disclose the chemicals they use in testing and growing GMO crops. Furthermore, the bill would prevent the use of those chemicals from being sprayed near schools, hospitals, residential areas, and waterways. [1]

Because of the year-round growing season Hawaii offers, biotech companies set up shop to grow and test their GMO innovations in paradise leaving residents concerned about being exposed to apparently many unknown toxic chemicals, which are not disclosed; they don’t want to be exposed to; and, consequently, must be made public knowledge.

According to AG Professional,
Originally the bill would have limited GM crop planting, but those provisions were eventually removed from the bill. Seed companies argued that the original bill would have forced them off the island completely, and they would have challenged the bill in court.

DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow and BASF grow corn on Kauai on land abandoned by sugar growers, according to the New York Times. [2]
However, elsewhere others are equally concerned about the effects of toxic chemicals required to formulate, test, and grow GMO crops. Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit contending the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
failed to meet legal requirements for reviewing the environmental impact of such practices before permitting them — and, more broadly, that because of their persistence and other special characteristics, they have no place in areas set aside for protection as wildlife habitat. [3]
The wildlife area involved is the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District, which extends over five counties in northwestern Minnesota.

The Center for Food Safety, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Sierra Club, and Beyond Pesticides filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior; the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS], an Administrative Agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior [4] wherein Plaintiffs contend:
Defendants’ decision to permit farming with pesticides and GE crops at these Refuges violates federal statutes.

In addition, CFS members grow organic and conventional seed crops, and consume products made with non-GE materials and without pesticides. CFS members also regularly eat organic foods and desire foods that are free of GE material and chemical pesticides. The proliferation of GE crops on refuge lands will contaminate non-GE crops nearby, and reduce the supply of food containing ingredients that are not contaminated with GE material. FWS’s actions in allowing chemical pesticides and the introduction of GE crops in Region 3 will make it more difficult for CFS members to produce, sell, and eat foods not contaminated by GE material.

The Sierra Club’s concerns encompass endangered species, habitat protection, pollution, genetic engineering, and industrial agriculture, including the use of pesticides, all of which are at issue in this case. The use of pesticides and the practice’s potential impacts on endangered species, amphibians, pollinators, and wildlife habitat are of particular concern to Sierra Club members. The loss of bees and other beneficial insects, and the threats to native ecosystems and wildlife posed by certain pesticides and insecticides, harm the interests of the Sierra Club and its members.
And how about this major and rightful concern:
FWS’s actions in allowing pesticide-intensive farming as well as the introduction of GE crops in Region 3 will make it more difficult for Sierra Club members to produce, sell, and eat foods not damaged by pesticide drift or GE material. Sierra Club members grow organic seed crops and consume products made without pesticides or GE materials. Planting GE crops on refuge lands will contaminate non-GE crops nearby, and reduce the supply of food processed with ingredients that are not contaminated with GE material.
Regarding the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the lawsuit contends
NEPA sets forth substantive environmental quality goals for the government and the nation. See 42 U.S.C. § 4331. Under NEPA, every agency of the United States Government must include an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in every “recommendation or report on proposals for legislation and other major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” 42 U.S.C. § 4332(2)(C).
Other Lawsuits Regarding GMOs

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Lawsuits filed against Creve Coeur-based Monsanto Co. over claims it failed to contain genetically altered wheat found on an Oregon farm, will be consolidated in Kansas, a judicial panel ruled.

At least 16 lawsuits will be sent to U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil in Kansas City for pretrial evidence gathering, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled Wednesday.

Plaintiffs, who include an environmental group and a Washington farm, accused Monsanto of failing to take necessary steps to prevent the altered wheat from contaminating regular wheat. [6]
In a lawsuit filed in District Court in Colorado in November 2012, the Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Pepperidge Farm, owned by Campbell Soup, misrepresented the product as “Natural” whereas Goldfish Crackers contain GMOs in the form of soy or soy derivatives. The suit further stated that since GMOs contain genes or DNA not natural to soy/soy products, the product cannot be considered as natural. [7]

And, the recent lawsuit filed in Washington State regarding the Grocery Manufacturers Association and its tactics regarding Initiative 522 to have GMOs labeled in that state. [8]
Consumer Advocacy

The question that consumers and consumer advocacy groups in the United States need to be evaluating and, in turn, asking of U.S. federal agencies is this: Where are the Environmental Impact Studies, Assessments, and Statements for GMOs? Asking for that information may be a little late, but better late than never, in this writer’s opinion.

The lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety, et al., just may be the Achilles heel for the GMO industry together with the lack of transparency in product labeling for GM/GE food stuffs.

If the USDA certifies the organic label [5] emphasizing organic agricultural growing methods, then USDA ought to certify GMO products so that consumers who want to eat GMOs ought to have that information made clearly available via product identification and labeling. What’s to be afraid of in “truth in advertising”?

Isn’t it about time consumers held government’s feet to the fire on transparency, especially regarding what we put into our bodies as food, water, and vaccines? What do you think?

Notes:

[1] http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/10/kauai-bill-limits-pesticides-used-by-biotech-companies...

[2] http://www.agprofessional.com/news/Hawaii-bill-would-limit-pesticides-for-GM-crops-228233131.html

[3] http://www.minnpost.com/earth-journal/2013/09/lawsuit-challenges-use-gmo-crops-and-pesticides...

[4] http://www.minnpost.com/sites/default/files/attachments/8_27_13_MWII_Compl_NDCA.pdf

[5] http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=ORGANIC_CERTIFICATIO

[6] http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/monsanto-lawsuits-over-gmo-wheat-consolidated-in-kansas...

[7] http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Regulation/Goldfish-Crackers-targeted-in-natural-lawsuit-over-genetically...

[8] http://www.storyleak.com/wash-state-lawsuit-reveals-corporations-laundered-money-fight-gmo-labeling/

About the Author

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).

Source: Waking Times


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