Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monsanto -- At It Again!

In the 1990’s Monsanto was responsible for destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of good farmland, and cattle and yes humans! NOW Under the Ruse of Food Safety Monsanto Aims to Eliminate the Competition and Replace Wholesome Foods With GMO “Genetically Modified Food”

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 in a nutshell is intended to eliminate healthy food and insures that all Americans will have “Genetically Modified Food” which so far has been proven less than safe. One Bill is HR 875 another is S 425: "Food Safety and Tracking Improving Act." Introduced on February 12 and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. Introduced in the House on February 4 by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, (D, CT) whose husband has ties to Monsanto, with 39 co-sponsors, it has been referred to the Agriculture and Energy and Commerce Committees for consideration.

How much have members of Congress been paid by Monsanto for this legislation?

Monsanto, who gains to benefit from such a bill, has a history of poisoning the planet. In the 1990’s they introduced a fertilizer that was coupled with toxic waste, including Spent Uranium, which became known as “Toxic Fertilizer.” Monsanto and other chemical companies have made millions of acres of good farmland useless for the next 1000 years. Now they want to waste the human population as well, and Congress with nearly one third of its members “CONVICTED FELONS” will take the bribes from Monsanto called lobbying money!

Monsanto and other chemical companies have been selling hazardous waste as fertilizer while claiming to be recycling byproducts. Federal regulation has made the cost of disposing of toxic waste a significant factor. A loophole in EPA regulations allows the use of industrial waste products as fertilizer, no matter what they contain. This has been with us since the 1990’s and was a fast-growing phenomenon, saving industry millions of dollars at the expense of public health.

Patty Martin, mayor of Quincy, WA, a small farming community, said. “They just call dangerous waste a product, and it's no longer a dangerous waste. It's a fertilizer”.

Unlike Canada and European countries, the U.S. has a hands-off policy as to what can constitute fertilizer. There are actually state programs to match up recyclers of toxic waste with fertilizer companies and farmers. Factories are building fertilizer plants close to their emissions control systems, to increase convenience and profitability. The resulting fertilizer needs no labeling as to the dangerous ingredients it contains. Industry representatives would like the public to believe that they are civic-minded (and smart and wise) enough to police themselves, but horror stories resulting from the use of such fertilizers indicate otherwise.

Consequences to Farmers

In Tifton, GA, Lime Plus, a brew of hazardous waste and limestone that had been sold to unsuspecting farmers, killed more than 1,000 acres of peanut crops aimed for human consumption.

An Oregon farmer, Wes Behrman of Banks, OR, won an out-of-court settlement from L-Bar Fertilizer Company after seeing his red-clover crop mysteriously wilt. He refused to discuss terms of the settlement with reporters, but he had told other people it was substantial.

In Gore, Oklahoma, a uranium-processing plant is getting rid of low-level radioactive waste by licensing it as a liquid fertilizer and spraying it over 9,000 acres of grazing land (with 2-nosed cows, 9-legged frogs, and very high rates of cancer and birth defects occurring in the vicinity).

In Quincy, WA, to dispose of a 54-foot long concrete pond full of toxic waste, the Cenex Fertilizer Company struck a deal with lessee farmer Larry Schaapman. He was paid more than $10,000 to let Cenex put the material, which the company claimed had fertilizer value, on his 100 acres. It killed the land. The corn crop failed there in 1990, even though Schaapman and Cenex applied extra water to try to wash the toxics through the soil. Hardly anything grew there the next year, either.

The land belonged to Dennis DeYoung, whose family had farmed it since the early 1950s before he leased it to Schaapman. Since the land was poisoned, DeYoung couldn't make his payments, and the company that financed him foreclosed on a $100,000 debt. DeYoung also owed Cenex money for fertilizer and seed. Soon after, Cenex bought the land from the financing company. DeYoung sued Cenex for damages for ruining the soil, lost in summary judgment but won a reversal in the State Court of Appeals.

Tom Witte is a 53-year-old farmer with 200 acres and about 100 cows a few miles east of Quincy, WA. His father purchased the farm in 1956. Witte had a disastrous year in 1991, associated with the use of contaminated fertilizer. His red spring wheat, silage corn, and grain corn all yielded about one-third the normal levels. Six of his cows got sick and died. The veterinarian found cancer in the three that were tested.

Witte and DeYoung submitted hair samples to a laboratory that test for heavy metals in human tissues. The lab found high levels of aluminum, antimony, lead, arsenic and cadmium in hair samples from DeYoung, Witte, and Witte's children.

Jaycie Giraud of Quincy, WA, said that the Giraud family, which has been farming in the area for three generations, is now broke due to the use of toxic fertilizers. Her father-in-law, a farmer for 50 years, lost a $1 million potato crop. Her husband and their two children, aged 7 and 14, have all developed respiratory problems that she believes are related to fertilizer products.

Farms Destroyed

The industries that are benefiting financially from recycled waste are claiming that there are no known risks in the use of toxic waste in fertilizer. However, farmers‚ land has been destroyed, livestock has been dying of cancer, and the health of the farmers themselves has been damaged by recycled waste. After determining that these problems coincided with the application of these fertilizers, some farmers have begun to protest the devastation of their lives and livelihoods.

Kerr-McGee Bags Monsanto's Waste

Monsanto Corp., a major pesticide manufacturer, sold the toxic waste from its Soda Springs, ID factory as a fertilizer component for six years. In 1994, they became the first company so far to STOP, because of fear of possible liability. They are still selling some waste to Kerr-McGee, who have taken over the process of turning it into fertilizer. A Monsanto rep stated that, in effect, Kerr-McGee is being paid to take on the risk of liability. Kerr-McGee is a big company. If they have a (liability) problem, they'll probably face their problem without dragging Monsanto into it.

A Growing Phenomenon

Although a big corporation like Monsanto has seen the liability at the end of the tunnel, this phenomenon is not about to go away. It is increasing. Soil scientists report that waste brokers from metal, cement, paper and wood products companies call constantly, trying to be matched up with farmers who will accept their waste products so that they will not have to pay to dispose of them.

Nor is it just currently produced toxics that are being cycled into fertilizer. Toxic waste from old dumpsites is also making its unregulated way into fertilizer. And at one of the sites on the EPA's Superfund list, Lowry Landfill near Denver, there is a plan to send liquid waste from the site through sewage treatment and apply it to government-owned wheat farms. The EPA is considering the novel disposal plan in a pending ruling that may set a precedent for new ways to clean up Superfund sites. The official EPA fact sheet on the landfill omits the fact that the waste is radioactive.

Follow-ups and Food Slander

Fertilizer industry reps seem willing to admit that mistakes were made (by scofflaws), but seem to define mistakes as the instances in which crops or livestock were destroyed or obviously damaged. They do not seem to acknowledge that (1) poisons put into the soil will become part of the plants or (2) eating such plants will have harmful effects. They would like to deny the following:
- Toxic heavy metals build up in soil.
- Radioactivity does not go away.
- Pesticide residues have harmful effects.
- Some plants take up more or less of certain chemicals from the ground than others.
- When the plants are eaten by animals, the toxins build up and multiply in their tissues.

The animals at the top of the food chain (such as predatory animals and meat and dairy eating humans) receive the heaviest doses of toxins.

There has been very little coverage of this issue in the mainstream press, possibly because of the new Food Slander laws in 13 states, which warn that anyone saying bad things about agribusiness is likely to be sued (e.g., Oprah Winfrey was sued by Texas cattle business for her show about mad-cow disease).

If its critics are right, HR 875 (and the others) are what Linn Cohen-Cole calls "Monsanto's Dream Bill" to proliferate the world with GMO contamination and control its entire food supply.

In 2007, F. William Engdahl wrote an important book on the topic called "Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation." He explained how Washington and four agribusiness giants plan world domination by patenting all life forms to control food production globally - everything, crops and animals.

In 2003, Jeffrey Smith's "Seeds of Deception" explained the dangers of untested and unregulated GM foods exposing those who eat them to potential health risks. Reliable studies show that rats fed GM potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, testicles, brains, damaged immune systems, and showed structural changes in their white blood cells making them more susceptible to infection and disease than other rats fed non-GM potatoes. They also had thymus and spleen damage, enlarged tissues, including the pancreas and intestines, liver atrophy, and other serious problems.

Humans may be harmed the same way because GMOs saturate our diet. Over 80% of all processed foods contain them as well as rice, corn, soybeans, soy products, vegetable oils, soft drinks, salad dressings, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat, and other animal products plus an array of hidden additives and ingredients in products like tomato sauce, ice cream and peanut butter.

Because labeling in America is prohibited, consumers don't know what they're eating or the risks from foods they believe safe. It makes everyone part of a mass human experiment, the results of which are unknown. Health problems may take years to show up. They'll be no way to trace the cause, and they may be serious, irreversible, and potentially life threatening.

Wheat so far is GM-free, and according to an April 1 2009 Reuters report, Monsanto formally withdrew "submissions for its genetically modified wheat from all regulatory agencies except the US Food and Drug Administration, a company spokeswoman said. The withdrawal is the last step in Monsanto's (earlier) announcement that it would" delay but not shelve plans to introduce the world's first GM wheat.

Monsanto sought approval in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and Colombia. It's now delayed, not halted. The company wants GM control over wheat and all other foods, but its official pronouncements deny it.

GMOs on the G20 Agenda

The bill's presumed intentions will be discussed below, but one thing is clear. Businesses, not politicians, write and/or control virtually all legislation affecting them to assure their interests are served. Monsanto is an influential Ag giant, directly involved in all food-related laws, the company's denials notwithstanding. It's so powerful, it has virtual veto power over Congress for anything related to its operations and laws affecting them.

Yet it dismissively claims that the bill stems from "public concerns with relatively recent incidents with peanut butter, ground beef, (and) spinach, etc."THIS CLAIM IS FALSE”. The way to deal with these and related problems is simply enforce existing laws, not enact new ones.

Case in point: the USDA is terminally understaffed, under-budgeted, and only perfunctorily carries out inspections. A recent OMB Watch report highlights the problem. Headlined, "Federal Meat Inspectors Spread Thin as Recalls Rise," it explains that USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is charged with ensuring safe meat, poultry and eggs, but its budget and staff haven't kept pace with its mandate.

In FY 1981, it had about 190 workers per billion pounds of meat and poultry inspected. By FY 2007, it was fewer than 88 or less than half as many. Yet under federal law, FSIS must inspect all meat, poultry, and egg products intended for commercial use. Its web site states: "Slaughter facilities cannot operate if FSIS inspection personnel are not present (and) Only Federally inspected establishments can produce products that are destined to enter commerce."

The BUSH Administration slashed important funding from the budget, failed to replace retiring employees, and made our food less safe.

Reality, however, belies the mandate as processors and manufacturers easily circumvent procedures, and according to inspectors interviewed, understaffing and lax policies contribute to the problem. An unsafe food supply results.

Government policy is to blame, and current legislation is for other purposes, not a way to fix things. HR 875 and companion bills are for agribusiness, not improved food safety.

Some Likely Truths about HR 875

Several recent articles and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) offered their analyses. They believe this and companion bills are vehicles to let agribusiness control the entire US food supply, destroy independent local farming, and end the production of healthy organic food. They may be right.

It's no secret that Ag giants want all foods to be GMOs so they have total control. It's an agenda going back decades that Engdahl explained in his book. The science came out of US research labs in the 1970s when no one noticed or paid attention. It became apparent when the Reagan Administration decided to make America dominant in a friendly unregulated environment, unmindful of safety and public health concerns, that's persisted ever since under Republican and Democrat Administrations.

Monsanto is the dominant producer, a company with a long record of fraud, cover-up, bribery, deceit, and disdain for the public interest, yet it has enormous clout in Washington. In the 1980s, and especially under G.H.W. Bush, it got unregulated free reign for its operations. A Bush Executive Order assured it. It ruled GMO plants and food to be "substantially equivalent" to ordinary ones of the same varieties, such as corn, wheat or rice. "Substantial equivalence" became the standard for the GMO revolution by sweeping away all regulatory restraints in spite of early concerns about safety that were confirmed overwhelmingly later on.

PASA says don't be fooled by the bill's deceptive language that hides its true intentions. Code words like "traceability, source verification, and best farming practices with proven scientific results" will force farmers to tag every animal (the requirement for industrial farms is one per 800,000) and use drugs, pesticides and GM seeds.

Already an Ohio state agricultural department swat team raided an organic food coop. The same thing happened to Pennsylvania Mennonite farmers and Wisconsin Amish ones. Other independents have been terrorized by home break-ins, burglaries, and treetop helicopter over-flights scaring animals to death.

Monsanto has sued conventional seed farmers like North Dakota’s Rodney Nelson for infringing on its patent rights because wind currents landed GM seeds on his land. In Poland, pro-agribusiness laws eliminated 60% of small farmers. Ones in the UK led to 60 suicides and in India to over 180,000.

From 1996 - 2004, worldwide GMO plantings expanded to167 million acres, a 40-fold increase on 25% of global arable land. Over two-thirds of US farmland grows GMOs, more than 106 million acres. Argentina has 34 million acres, and production is expanding in Brazil, China, Canada, South Africa, Indonesia, Spain, Eastern Europe, and wherever else Ag giants have clout. They want it all, everywhere, and have complicit government allies to help them, here and abroad.

In Iraq, Paul Bremer's Order 81 covers patents, their duration, and stated: "Farmers shall be prohibited from re-using seeds of protected varieties or any (designated) variety." It gave Ag giants absolute control over farmers' seed usage for 20 years. They're now GMO, owned by the transnationals, and Iraqi farmers had to sign an agreement to pay a "technology fee" as well as an annual license fee. Plant Variety Protection (PVP) made seed saving and reuse illegal, and even "similar" seed plantings can result in severe fines and imprisonment.

Agribusiness wants the same rights everywhere, including in America. If they get it, the future of organic and independent farming will be threatened.

PASA says HR 875 doesn't regulate, prohibit or penalize private gardens or farmers markets directly. It focuses solely on ensuring supermarket food safety. But it regulates seeds, harvesting, transporting, seed storage facilities, and seed cleaning equipment under "food safety" provisions to prevent contamination - from agricultural water and manure, not pesticides, fertilizers, or unsafe GM seeds.

Seed cleaning equipment is crucial as it's how organic seed is saved. It's used after plants "go to seed" to separate them from plant material so farmers can harvest and store them for future plantings. HR 875 doesn't mention seeds but PASA believes its intent is to criminalize their banking through code language and bill provisions. Already, some areas of the country ban seed cleaning. Monsanto is likely involved, and the scheme is to claim the equipment produces contamination.

To prevent it, Ag giants want provisions that require expensive storage facilities, per line of seed. Organic farmers can't afford them, and this has nothing to do with food safety. But HR 875 claims it does.

PASA says FDA and USDA targeted organic and other independent farmers for years, at least since the early 1980s when high interest rates drove many out of business. Today, pro-industry laws have the same effect because Ag giants like Monsanto demand them. If they succeed, biodiversity and organic farming are at risk along with public health and safety to a greater degree than already given the amount of tainted and dangerous foods allowed, not addressed in HR 875.

While bill language doesn't prohibit organic or independent farming, that's the likely aim. Its provisions are Ag business-friendly, but destructive to small competitors by establishing heavy fines, imprisonment, onerous rules, and letting regulators interpret them as they wish.

Monsanto dismisses the notion that it's behind the bill that will "give incredible power to “Monsanto” by criminalizing seed banking, requiring 24 hour GPS tracking of animals, stripping away of property rights, and forcing industrialized farming on America."

Now the government wants to insure that we can not grow our own food, perhaps we are the next in line to be used for the elimination of toxic waste e.g. the genetically modified food. Why not -- we were dumb enough to allow Fluoride to be added to our water!