genetically-modified-food-300x183TND Guest Contributor:  F. William Engdahl

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to kill you.” Such a comment might be applied to the most widely used weed-killers on Earth–Monsanto’s patented Roundup based on the systemic herbicide, Glyphosate. Earlier this year the authoritative International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World health Organisation (WHO) declared that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans. Scientific studies have confirmed it. Now a new, peer-reviewed scientific study over a two-year life span of test rats, clearly demonstrates that consumption of even tiny amounts of Roundup or other glyphosate-containing weed killers produces severe liver and kidney damage and in some cases premature death.

The well-meaning faceless bureaucrats over at the supra-national EU Commission in Brussels refuse to even seriously consider such studies and classify as “secret” a German government report from this past January because it likely would show Monsanto’s dirty paw prints. All this does is once more show the criminal conspiracy by Monsanto, the world’s leading purveyor of Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO plants to use myths, lies and any sort of corruption of science to ram their poisons down the throats of our food animals and of us human beings.

Shocking new Study

On August 25, the international scientific journal, Environmental Health, published the peer-reviewed results of a two-year study by a team led by Michael N. Antoniou of the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, King’s College London. He conceived the study together with Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini of the Institute of Biology, University of Caen, in France.

Under strictest conditions the different groups of rats were given micro-diluted concentrations of glyphosate and its adjuvants as found in Roundup from Monsanto. The glyphosate equivalent dose of Roundup administered in this study was half that permitted in drinking water in the European Union and Australia, and 14,000 times lower than that permitted in drinking water in the USA.

Moreover, the amount of glyphosate-equivalent Roundup consumed by the animals on a daily basis was many thousands of times below the regulatory set safety limits of glyphosate alone in all regions around the world.

This is the most extensive and only known long-term study of the potential toxic effects of glyphosate-based herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, even though Roundup with glyphosate was discovered by Monsanto in 1970.

Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) such as Roundup are the major pesticides used worldwide and are currently applied on at least 24 % of the total global cropland. They are also used extensively in domestic and urban environments. Residues of GBH are routinely detected in foodstuffs and drinking water contaminated via rain, surface runoff and leaching into groundwater. In short it’s almost everywhere.

What the scientists discovered should set alarm bells ringing around the world. Have you heard even so much as a jingle bell so far?

They discovered that male animals suffered from pathological liver and kidney damage resulting in an increased rate of premature deaths. Further, significant alteration in the pattern of gene function was found in both the liver and kidneys of the Roundup group of rats compared with the control group. The alterations in gene function were consistent with fibrosis (scarring), necrosis (areas of dead tissue), phospholipidosis (disturbed fat metabolism) and damage to mitochondria (the centres ofrespiration in cells).

I want to underscore the seriousness of what Antoniou and his colleagues are describing. The liver is a vital organ. It has some 500 functions in the body including detoxification of various metabolites, protein synthesis, and the production of biochemicals necessary for digestion. This gland plays a major role in metabolism. It regulates a variety of essential reactions, including the synthesis and breakdown of small and complex molecules which are necessary for normal vital functions. In short, the liver supports almost every organ in the body and is vital for survival. 

And we should also be clear on the role of other glyphosate-damaged organ, the kidneys, which are essential for the body’s removal of waste products of metabolism. Kidneys are essential to the urinary system and also the regulation of electrolytes, maintenance of acid–base balance, and regulation of blood pressure by maintaining the salt and water balance. They are the body’s natural filter of the blood, and remove water-soluble wastes which are diverted to the bladder.  If both kidneys and liver are damaged seriously, we are in bad trouble, or even dead.

To sum up the Antoniou and Seralini team’s rat research results, rats fed ultra-low concentrations of glyphosate-based Roundup over the two year life-span period showed that, “twice the number of biochemical parameters was disturbed in kidney than what can be expected by chance. Furthermore, a testosterone/estrogen imbalance was evident with testosterone serum levels significantly increased by 97 % by comparison to controls, while estradiol serum levels were decreased by 26 %. These observations together with pituitary gland disturbances suggest endocrine disrupting effects.” Estradiol is a steroid and estrogen sex hormone, and the primary female sex hormone. It is essential for the development and maintenance of female reproductive tissues but also has important effects in many other tissues including bone. Estrogens have essential functions in men as well.

The scientists continue their conclusions: “Overall, toxicity process analysis revealed gene expression disturbances associated with apoptosis, necrosis, phospholipidosis, mitochondrial membrane dysfunction and ischemia. Thus the alteration…in this study correlates with the observed increased signs of anatomical and functional pathology of the liver and kidneys.” They observed “more than 4000 genes whose expression was altered in both the liver and kidneys within the Roundup treatment group.”

Monsanto and corrupt scientists

Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini designed this newest study with his colleagues as a follow-up to a sensational 2012 study. The new study was specifically on the impact, not of feeding Roundup-sprayed GMO corn from Monsanto, but solely the isolated impact of Roundup, the glyphosate-based Roundup weed-killer used in all GMO crops today. In September 2012 Food and Chemical Toxicology, published Seralini’s first ever-long-term two year study of the impact of Monsanto GMO corn sprayed, as Monsanto requires, with Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer.

That 2012 Seralini report described the world’s first feeding study of the effects on more than 200 rats of a diet of GMO corn over a period of a full two years at a cost of €3 million.  The study found alarming instances of cancer tumors in rats fed GMO corn treated with Monsanto Roundup with Glyphosate. World media coverage forced the EU Commission to cover its pro-GMO tracks.

More than one year later, in 2013, in an unprecedented and entirely unethical move, the Food and Chemical Toxicology editors retracted the Seralini 2012 article. It was later discovered that a former senior Monsanto employee, Richard Goodman, had been named by the journal to their Editorial Board shortly before the Seralini study was retracted. A year after that blatantly corrupt action, Goodman along with Editor-in-chief A. Wallace Hayes were themselves both “removed” by the publisher

But the corruption doesn’t stop with the attempts to ostracise the Seralini rat studies.

EU Declares German Monsanto study “Secret”

In the latest twist in this criminal drama of lies and intrigues the EU Commission has just declared a German government study “secret” and unavailable for examination by independent scientific experts.

The EU Commission is refusing to let independent experts have access to the recent report prepared by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) on the risk assessment of glyphosate.

On August 10, 2015 the EU Commission wrote to Testbiotech.org, an industry-independent group of experts registered as a non-profit organization to promote independent research and public debate on the impacts of biotechnology, a euphemism for GMO.

The EU Commission wrote that it had denied a request by Testbiotech to examine the documents made available to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) by the German government. The EU insisted, bizarrely, that the documents “are protected in their entirety” as confidential. The EU Commission can see “no overriding public interest” that would justify access. The letter was signed by Ladislav Miko, Acting Director-General of the EU Commission’s Food Safety Directorate (the name of the EU office even sounds like 1984). Miko is another of those Brussels faceless bureaucrats with immense responsibility andno transparency.

At issue is a report sent to the EU Commission’s Monsanto-linked EFSA, (European Food Safety Authority), this spring by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) on the safety of glyphosate. The German assessment was made following widespread publicity about the WHO assessment that glyphosate was a likely cancer causing chemical. Surprisingly, the BfR came to the opposite conclusion, namely that there is no risk of cancer from glyphosates. Theirs was in a hasty study that apparently relied on an equally hasty study provided to the German government by…you guessed it–Monsanto scientistsThat Monsanto study that formed the basis of the cheery German BfR report is what the scientific experts of Testbiotech.org wish to put under the microscope. To avoid that potential embarrassment, the EU Commission has labeled the German study “secret and confidential.” The German government has also kept their report secret.

The criminal melodrama gets even more remarkable though.

In a 2013 court ruling made by the European Court of Justice, (Case T 545/11), judges ruled that data relevant for the risk assessment of herbicides have to be made public. The EU Commission as well as the German government are in contempt of that ruling.

Whatever Monsanto touches seems to ooze with corruption and fraud. It’s interesting and extraordinary in its pervasiveness, and suggests the company has a deeper agenda than mere corporate profit. I would posit that the deeper Monsanto agenda has something to do with the company’s long history with the pro-eugenics Rockefeller family and more recently with eugenicist advocate, Bill Gates of Microsoft.

Is the entire GMO project, a project financed and brought to commercialization primarily by the Rockefeller Foundation, a hidden eugenics project to gradually reduce world population of what Rockefeller and his kind would call “useless eaters” or human “weeds”? It’s beginning to look more and more just like that. What an elegant way to get hundreds of millions or even a few billions of people to have them slowly eat themselves to death by consuming GMO and glyphosates they don’t even notice until it’s too late. Especially Asians, Africans, all non-Anglo-Saxons. But that is really ridiculous now, isn’t it?

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

This work was published at the New Eastern Outlook and is reprinted with permission.

Photo Credit: Bidness Etc

Photo Credit: Bidness Etc

TND Guest Contributor: F. William Engdahl 

Monsanto and the GMO agribusiness cartel have suffered a major new defeat as two-thirds of the 28 EU member states have opted for a full ban on GMO crops according to the terms of new Brussels rules allowing national decision on the toxic agro-technology. The bans across the EU greatly expand the EU acreage off-limits to GMO from the previous somewhat chaotic EU procedures.

By the October 3 deadline, the EU Commission has announced that 19 of the 28 EU member countries have filed for a full “opt-out” or ban on GMO commercial crops in their countries. Other states can still file no GMO opt-outs after October 3 on certain grounds.

The states saying fully No to GMO now include Germany (except for limited research only, not commercial planting), andFrance. France continues its previous ban, including for Monsanto MON810 GMO maize, the only GMO crop presently in commercial cultivation in the EU, , mainly in Spain and Portugal. In addition to Germany and France, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, and Slovenia all now have full GMO bans.

As wel there are regional bans within the UK of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a major portion of the best UK agricultural land. The UK Cameron government however remains pro-GMO. In Belgium, the southern part, Wallonia, adjacent to France and Luxemburg, also opted to ban GMO. The decision of Ireland, which had a total ban on GMO in 2009, is at this point unclear.

New rules weaken EFSA

While many environmental groups feared the new rules would allow companies like Monsanto to “divide and conquer” by spreading its seeds in pro-GMO countries, it is clear that EU countries overwhelmingly reject the now proven dangerous GMO plants and their paired very toxic herbicides such as Monsanto roundup with glyphosate, a suspected carcinogen.

In January 2015, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved the new opt-out rules. Previously, the notoriously corrupt European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Brussels, where many of the scientists responsible have documented ties to the GMO industry, was the sole deciding body and all EU countries were required to permit planting unless they made difficult exceptional legal appeals.

Despite that, only Spain and Portugal today plant most EU GMO crops. In all other countries widespread population opposition to GMO has kept farmers from planting it. Now under the new Opt-Out rules, member states can officially ban GMOs on environmental policy grounds other than the difficult and costly to prove criteria of risks to health and the environment already assessed by EFSA. States can also ban GMO crops for other reasons, such as town and country planning requirements, socio-economic impact and farm-policy objectives, or contamination–avoiding the unintended presence of GMOs in adjacent crops.

The result of the new EU rule is a national and regional rejection of GMO crops across the EU, a fact that now will undoubtedly strengthen the GMO resistance of African and Asian countries, Latin America and China to impose their own prohibitions on GMO. It represents a huge blow to Monsanto and company. Last month the Russian Federation announced its decision to declare a total ban on GMO crops.

The new rules are not without loopholes that could allow Monsanto and Co. to use their significant legal muscle to try to open new markets through court action. Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan told the Irish Times last January that the final legislation was a “watered down” version of earlier drafts. She said, “It is also disappointing that the liability system has been removed thereby offering no compensation for non GM farmers whose produce is contaminated by GMOs.”

Now all eyes turn to Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland and Estonia, as well as the northern Belgian region and rest of UK. If farmers there begin to feel the pain of not being able to guarantee GMO free crops, they could force a ban there as well. In brief, a positive gain for all those interested in food and health in the EU.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

This article was published at the New Eastern Outlook and is reprinted with permission.

Almost 3 million people across Europe have signed a petition calling on the European Commission to scrap the agreement. (Photo: greensefa/flickr/cc)

Almost 3 million people across Europe have signed a petition calling on the European Commission to scrap the agreement. (Photo: greensefa/flickr/cc)

TND Guest Contributor: Lauren McCauley

The pending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will likely spark a “race to the bottom” for national policies that regulate everything from the air we breath to the food we eat and, according to a new report, the controversial pact is already pushing European governments to loosen key food safety standards.

Put forth by the UK-based social justice organization Global Justice now, the report (pdf), published Sunday, highlights a component of the pact known as “regulatory cooperation” or “regulatory coherence,” which seeks to establish common standards between the United States and the European Union.

Under the provision, notes the group, multinational corporations are granted the opportunity to influence any new regulation—amounting to a “blueprint for corporate domination.”

“To most people regulations such as air pollution limits and food safety standards are common sense protections against dangerous threats,” said report author Alex Scrivener, who works as a campaigns officer at Global Justice Now. “But to big business, these are little more than tiresome barriers to increasing profits.”

Scrivener added that “Corporate lobbyists are pushing so hard for TTIP because this is one of the biggest chances they’ve ever had to systematically strip these protections away from citizens and consumers. TTIP isn’t really about trade, it’s about corporations rewriting the rule book as to how they’re allowed to operate.”

The study, which comes a day before international delegates will meet in Miami, Florida for the next round of negotiations, finds that even though it has not been signed, the tradeagreement is already driving EU regulators to loosen or abandon certain food standards.

According to report:

US officials successfully used the prospect of TTIP to bully the EU into abandoning plans to ban 31 dangerous pesticides with ingredients that have been shown to cause cancer and infertility.

A similar fate befell regulations around the treatment of beef with lactic acid. This was  banned in Europe because of fears that the procedure was being used to conceal unhygienic  practices. The ban was repealed by MEPs in the European Parliamentary Environment Public Health and Food Safety Committee after EU Commission officials openly suggested TTIP  negotiations would be threatened if the ban wasn’t lifted.

On climate change, the European Fuel Quality Directive which would effectively ban  Canadian tar sands oil has foundered in the face of strong US-Canadian lobbying around  both TTIP and the EU-Canada CETA deal.

More generally, the EU’s Better Regulation programme has also been linked to TTIP. Better Regulation explicitly seeks to reduce the regulatory ‘burden’, delaying the implementation of new rules on things like safe levels of chemicals. Trade unions say that Better Regulation has  already been responsible for 100,000 deaths from cancer.

These new insights on the corporate-friendly agreement comes as European leaders faces growing public opposition to the deal.

Last week, an estimated 250,000 protested in Berlin and more than three million havesigned a petition calling on the European Commission to abandon negotiations over the TTIP and drop the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada.

TND Guest Contributor: Claire Bernish

Monsanto’s popular weedkiller is mainly used on crops such as corn and soybeans, which are genetically modified to survive it. It also"probably causes cancer" in humans, says IARC. (Photo: Studioshots/Alamy)

Monsanto’s popular weedkiller is mainly used on crops such as corn and soybeans, which are genetically modified to survive it. It also”probably causes cancer” in humans, says IARC. (Photo: Studioshots/Alamy)

 

(ANTIMEDIA) Sacramento, CA — California just dealt Monsanto a blow as the state’s Environmental Protection Agency will now list glyphosate — the toxic main ingredient in the U.S.’ best-selling weedkiller, Roundup — as known to cause cancer.

Under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 — usually referred to as Proposition 65, its original name — chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm are required to be listed and published by the state. Chemicals also end up on the list if found to be carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) — a branch of the World Health Organization.

In March, the IARC released a report that found glyphosate to be a“probable carcinogen.”

Besides the “convincing evidence” the herbicide can cause cancer in lab animals, the report also found:

“Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the U.S.A., Canada, and Sweden reported increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustments to other pesticides.”

California’s decision to place glyphosate on the toxic chemicals list is the first of its kind. As Dr. Nathan Donley of the Center for Biological Diversitysaid in an email to Ecowatch, “As far as I’m aware, this is the first regulatory agency within the U.S. to determine that glyphosate is a carcinogen. So this is a very big deal.”

Now that California EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has filed its notice of intent to list glyphosate as a known cancer agent, the public will have until October 5th to comment. There are no restrictions on sale or use associated with the listing.

Monsanto was seemingly baffled by the decision to place cancer-causing glyphosate on the state’s list of nearly 800 toxic chemicals. Spokesperson for the massive company, Charla Lord, told Agri-Pulse that “glyphosate is an effective and valuable tool for farmers and other users, including many in the state of California. During the upcoming comment period, we will provide detailed scientific information to OEHHA about the safety of glyphosate and work to ensure that any potential listing will not affect glyphosate use or sales in California.”

Roundup is sprayed on crops around the world, particularly with Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready varieties — genetically engineered to tolerate large doses of the herbicide to facilitate blanket application without harming crops. Controversy has surrounded this practice for years — especially since it was found farmers increased use of Roundup, rather than lessened it, as Monsanto had claimed.

Less than a week after the WHO issued its report naming glyphosate carcinogenic, Monsanto called for a retraction — and still maintains that Roundup is safe when used as directed.

On Thursday, an appeals court in Lyon, France, upheld a 2012 ruling in favor of farmer Paul Francois, who claimed he had been chemically poisoned and suffered neurological damage after inhaling Monsanto’s weedkiller, Lasso. Not surprisingly, the agrichemical giant plans to take its appeal to the highest court in France.

It’s still too early to tell whether other states will follow California’s lead.


This article (California Just Announced It Will Label Monsanto’s Roundup as Cancer Causing) is licensed under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org.

Wyoming-farmer-fined

TND Guest Contributor: Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D. 

A Wyoming farmer is facing $16 million in fines for the unspeakable crime of creating a stock pond for his horses and cattle on his eight-acre property.   Bringing the man to justice is none other than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose breathtaking incompetence led to the August 5th spill of millions of gallons of toxic sludge into a vast river system covering parts of Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.

In 2012, Andy Johnson built the stock pond on his small farm near Fort Bridger, Wyoming, by damming up Six Mile Creek, which runs through his property. Johnson had acquired all the necessary permits for the project from state agencies.   Because stock ponds are expressly exempt from the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), he was not required to seek permits from EPA or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

But of what import is the letter of the law when the EPA is determined to throw its weight around and crush a small farmer in the rural West?  In January 2014, the EPA ordered Johnson to restore the pond to its original condition or face fines of $37,500 a day.

“Navigable interstate water of the United States”

The EPA explains its action by saying Six Mile Creek is a tributary of the Green River, which, according to the agency, is “a navigable interstate water of the United States” under the CWA.  EPA also described the sand, gravel, clay, and concrete blocks used to construct the dam as “dredged material” and “pollutants” under the CWA (Washington Times, Aug. 31).  The $37,500-a-day fines EPA threatened to impose on Johnson have now added up to the tidy sum of $16 million.

Instead of bowing to the demands of bureaucrats in far-away Washington, Johnson decided to fight back and is now represented by the Sacramento, California-based Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) and the Budd-Falen Law Office in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“The EPA’s double standard is mind-blowing,” PLF attorney Jonathan Wood said in a statement filed in federal court August 27.  “This is the same agency that just created a toxic mess in Colorado’s Animas River with no accountability for the blundering bureaucracy.  But here they are, threatening Andy Johnson with astronomical fines, for building an environmentally beneficial stock pond that actually purifies the water that runs through it.”

Saying the EPA is out to “expand its power” and make him a test case, Johnson has resolved the fight the agency “all the way.”  “My family depends on me, and when the EPA came into my life, they just didn’t attack me, they attacked my family and our home,” he was quoted in the Casper Star Tribune as saying.  “We told them time and time and time again that it’s exempt, here are the facts, but they’ve basically ignored it.”  Johnson added that his stock pond has actually improved the environment by providing water for moose, eagles, heron, and other wildlife.

In its complaint against Johnson, EPA uses language which, in light of recent events, is dripping in unintended irony.  “Six Mile Creek filled and disturbed by Respondent’s unauthorized activities provided various functions and values, including wildlife habitat for birds mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians; water quality enhancement; flood attenuation; and/or aesthetics,”  (Washington Times, Aug. 31)

The EPA’s description of the pre-dam Six Mile Creek’s ecological significance bears a striking resemblance to the role played by Colorado’s Animas River and New Mexico’s San Juan River prior to the August 5th toxic spill resulting from the agency’s botched plugging of the Gold King Mine near Durango, Colorado.  The scale of the EPA’s disaster far exceeds – by orders of magnitude – whatever disturbance was caused by Johnson’s stock pond.  Another difference, of course, is that the EPA wants to fine farmer Johnson but has no intention of fining itself or holding any of its employees or contractors responsible for the mess it made.

Preview of coming attractions

In filing his challenge to the EPA in August 2015, farmer Johnson showed exquisite timing.   It was not only the month that an EPA-led crew polluted a river system in the Southwest; the suit also coincided with the EPA’s rollout of its ‘Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.   WOTUS is designed to bring untold millions of acres of private land under the EPA’s jurisdiction under the guise of “protecting” bodies of water throughout the country.

The EPA’s idea of “protecting” water was amply demonstrated in its handling of the Gold King Mine.  Of equal concern, however, are the agency’s repeated assurances that landowners have nothing to fear from WOTUS, because the rule contains a list of exemptions that include stock ponds.  But in the case of the Wyoming farmer, the agency has shown a blatant disregard for an exemption Congress included in the CWA over four decades ago. Having just given itself new powers over private land, the EPA’s claims that it will honor exemptions enumerated in the WOTUS rule can be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.  What happened to farmer Johnson is a preview of coming attractions if this rule is allowed to stand.

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., is a senior policy analyst with CFACT

This article was published at CFACT.org and is reprinted with permission.

monsanto gmoTND Guest Contributor: Steven MacMillan  |

Fantastic news; the Scottish government recently announced it will take advantage of the amendment to EU rules and ban the growing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country.

Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, stated earlier this month that “the Scottish Government has long-standing concerns about GM[/GMO] crops – concerns that are shared by other European countries and consumers, which should not be dismissed lightly… Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment – and banning [the] growing [of] GM crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status.”

Mr Lochhead revealed that he has “heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash”, adding that there “is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers.”

At the start of the year, the EU changed its rules on the cultivation of GMO crops by allowing individual governments and devolved administrations to opt out of growing EU-authorized GMO crops. Many people around the world viewed this change as a backdoor for Big-Agri to push their products on the continent, but Scotland has wisely seized the opportunity to ban GMO crops.

Across the border in England however, the government in London is pushing for GMOs to be grown in the country. England could soon be growing GMO crops in the form of maize, oil seed rape and even potatoesin the near future.

Hopefully Scotland’s decision will help to persuade other governments around Europe and the world to instigate a similar ban (if they haven’t already), and ensure that Big-Agri does not get a significant foothold on the continent. Germany looks like one of the countries that will also choose to ban GMO crops.

Organic Revolution

As the health dangers of GMO foods and herbicides become blatantly apparent for all to see, demand for organic produce is soaring around the world. In the UK last year, sales of organic products increased by 4%according to the Soil Association’s 2015 Organic Market Report.

Organic food sales in the United States have increased from approximately $11 billion in 2004 to an estimated $27 billion in 2012, with organic sales expected to reach $35 billion in the US this year.

Demand for organic produce in Australia is at record levels. Last year’s Australian Organic Market Reportfound that the organic industry is now valued at over $1.72 billion, representing a 15.4 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) since 2009.

Denmark has launched the “world’s most ambitious” organic plan which aims at doubling organic farming by 2020. The European nation has long been a leader in the market with organic sales increasing by 6.1% from 2013 to 2014.

Toxic GMO

The negative health effects associated with the consumption of GMO foods are literally endless, ranging from cancer to autism, food intolerances to organ failure. Last year, a comprehensive report by The Ministry of Health in Cordoba, Argentina, found that in areas where GMO crops are grown and agro-chemicals are used, cancer rates are double the national average.

Even though the scientific evidence documenting the toxicity of GMO foods is undeniable, proponents of GMOs are still dogmatically supporting the technology. Professor Brian Wynne, an emeritus professor at the University of Lancaster, recently stated that the pro-GMO campaign resembles a “religious crusade”, adding that many have an “obsession with GM.”

Ban Monsanto’s Roundup!

In March of this year, the World Health Organisations (WHO) cancer agency – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – conducted a study on glyphosate, the main ingredient in the most widely used weedkiller in the world, Monsanto’s Roundup – which is heavily sprayed on GMO crops. The IARC study chillingly revealed that glyphosate was “classified as probably carcinogenic to humans”.

The WHO is only the latest in a long line of scientific studies which have proven that Roundup is deeply harmful to human health. A US peer-reviewed study in 2013 which was published in the scientific journal Entropy, linked Monsanto’s Roundup to infertility, cancers and Parkinsons disease amongst other ailments. The authors of the study were Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc. and a former private environmental government contractor. The abstract of the study reads:

“Glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body…….Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease” (Samsel and Seneff, 2013).

Seneff also recently sparked controversy by stating that half of all children in the US will have autism by 2025 due to Monsanto’s Roundup. Evidence indicates that autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are on the rise in the US; with one study conducted in 2014 by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovering that one in 68 US children had an ASD, compared to one in 88 in 2012. Many people would assert that this is a result of more efficient ways to diagnose ASD, an assertion that is true. However, it surely does not account for such dramatic increases in recent years.

Considering the quantity of scientific literature pertaining to the health dangers of Monsanto’s Roundup and its main ingredient – glyphosate; nations around the world have instigated bans on the substance and associated products. The Netherlands hasbanned Roundup to protect citizens health; Sri Lanka’s new President put an immediate ban on the importation of glyphosate; Two major supermarkets in Switzerlandhave stopped selling products that contain glyphosate; in addition to France banning the sale of Roundup from garden centres. 

Scotland along with every other country in the world should also implement a ban on Monsanto’s Roundup, in addition to investigating the chief scientists and board members of Monsanto, as they have been profiting from selling products that are harmful to human health.

Stop TTIP

 In order to ensure Monsanto and other biotech corporate giants are unable to infringe on European nations ability to protect their citizens, the corporate fascist trade deal between the US and EU – the “undemocratic” Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – will have to be defeated. This highly surreptitious partnership is only one of many other deals currently being negotiated behind closed doors, with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) completing the trio of tyrannical pacts. 

One of the most controversial aspects of the TTIP and the TPP is the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), which Washington is adamantly pushing to be included in the partnerships. The ISDS would allowcorporations to sue national governments if countries implement laws that will infringe on the profits and investments of corporations, not surprisingly leading to widespread opposition by the public – 97 percent of citizens consulted by the EU on ISDS were opposed to it.

As the former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, explains in his article: Rule By The Corporations, that governments who have passed laws against GMO foods could be sued by multinational corporations if these partnerships are signed:

What the “partnerships” do is to make private corporations immune to the laws of sovereign countries on the grounds that laws of countries adversely impact corporate profits and constitute “restraint of trade.” For example, under the Transatlantic Partnership, French laws against GMOs would be overturned as “restraints on trade” by law suits filed by Monsanto.”

The Scottish government’s decision to ban the growing of GMO crops is a timely and sensible move, but other legislation needs to be implemented to ensure Scotland’s citizens are protected against the dangers of GMOs. Edinburgh needs to place an immediate ban on glyphosate-based products in addition to rejecting the corporate fascist trade deal, the TTIP.  More government subsidized organic farming initiatives would also be an important step in the right direction, as many farmers feel the cost of growing organic foods is an unsustainable business model.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

This article was published at the New Eastern Outlook and is reprinted with permission.

Demonstrators against Monsanto and GMOs stage a protest in Portland, Maine in May 2014. (Photo: Corey Templeton/flickr/cc)

Demonstrators against Monsanto and GMOs stage a protest in Portland, Maine in May 2014. (Photo: Corey Templeton/flickr/cc)

TND Guest Contributor:  Nadia Prupis |

File this under unsurprising, but nefarious nonetheless.

Members of U.S. Congress who vote against mandatory labeling for genetically modified (GMO) products receive three times as much funding from the food and agriculture lobbies as their colleagues, according to new reporting from Open Secrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics.

The political finance watchdog group found that the supporters of the anti-labeling bill which passed the House of Representatives last Thursday collectively received $29.9 million from the agribusiness lobby and food and beverage industry during the 2014 election cycle.At 230 Republicans and 45 Democrats, that averages roughly $108,900 per member to support HR 1599—officially titled the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 but known by its opponents as the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act. HR 1599passed with 275 to 150 votes.

Meanwhile, co-sponsors of the anti-labeling bill “received six-figure dollar amounts from providers of agricultural services and products…during the 2014 election cycle. That put them high among the top 20 recipients of funds from the industry,” Open Secrets reports.

Among those lawmakers are Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), most of whom also sit on the House Agriculture Committee.

As Common Dreams reported last Thursday, HR1599 “was backed by the food industry, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Monsanto Company, which have poured money into defeating GMO labeling initiatives.”

Open Secrets continues:

Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), two original sponsors of the legislation, were the top two current House members receiving the most money from the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2014. The grocery manufacturers — who have spent $4.1 million lobbying on all issues so far this year, almost as much as they spent in all of 2014 — have lobbied on the bill more than any other organization, mentioning the measure on 14 lobbying reports this year.

After the Grocery Manufacturers Association, PepsiCo Inc ($2.5 million in overall lobbying this year) and Monsanto Co ($2.6 million) have mentioned the bill most frequently.

Food and environmental activists called for the Senate to vote down HR 1599 when it reaches the chamber.

“Passage of this bill is an attempt by Monsanto and its agribusiness cronies to crush the democratic decision-making of tens of millions of Americans. Corporate influence has won and the voice of the people has been ignored,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety, said last week.

Added Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association, “It’s time to hold every member of Congress accountable. Either they stand with Monsanto and Big Food in support of the DARK Act, or they stand with the overwhelming majority of their constituents for truthful labeling and consumer choice.”

A sign in support of GMO labeling seen in North Portland, Oregon. (Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/cc)

A sign in support of GMO labeling seen in North Portland, Oregon. (Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/cc)

TND Guest Contributor: Andrea Germanos |

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation that would block states from requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods, or GMOs—a move that consumer rights groups decried as corporate power defeating Americans’ right to know what’s in their food.

The bill, H.R. 1599—dubbed the “DARK Act” (Deny Americans the Right to Know) by its critics—passed 275-150.

It was backed by the food industry, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Monsanto Company, which have poured money into defeating GMO labeling initiatives.

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, a group that opposed the bill, explains: “The bill that passed includes provisions that would preempt states from labeling GMOs or enforce already passed GMO labeling provisions (like Vermont’s Act 120), and would prohibit states from having any oversight of GMO crops, for example, a county-wide ban on growing GMOs or GMO-free zones in certain organic seed-producing areas. Instead, this bill would create a voluntary federal GMO labeling standard for companies, weakening already deficient regulations.”

It was co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who said following the vote that bill “provides needed clarity in food labeling.”

Among those disappointed in the passage of the legislation is the Center for Food Safety.

“Passage of this bill is an attempt by Monsanto and its agribusiness cronies to crush the democratic decision-making of tens of millions of Americans. Corporate influence has won and the voice of the people has been ignored,” stated Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) was also opposed to the bill, and cited widespread public support for labeling GMOs.

“It’s outrageous that some House lawmakers voted to ignore the wishes of nine out of 10 Americans,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for EWG.

The outcome of the vote was a “foregone conclusion,” he continued, because “this House was bought and paid for by corporate interests.”

But Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association, stressed that the fight is far from over—so expect resistance.

“We are committed to stopping this outrageous, anti-consumer, anti-democracy legislation from succeeding,” Cummins said. “We will do so by mobilizing a massive opposition movement that transcends political party affiliations, and that unites consumers of all ages with organic farmers and retailers whose livelihoods are threatened by this legislation, and with the medical and scientific experts who are outspoken about the potential health and environmental risks associated with GMO crops and foods.

“It’s time to hold every member of Congress accountable. Either they stand with Monsanto and Big Food in support of the DARK Act, or they stand with the overwhelming majority of their constituents for truthful labeling and consumer choice,” Cummins stated.

Instead of H.R. 1599, hundreds of farm, public interest and environmental organizations have urged (pdf) passage of bipartisan legislation that would require labeling of GMOs.

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TND Guest Contributors:  Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton Dykes |

While this shouldn’t surprise those of us already clued in to the fact that the American government is essentially a front for megabanks and megacorporations, the depths to which our elected “representatives” will sink to prove it seem to know no bounds.

Now the House has passed a measure to ban GMO labeling. Activist Post’s Kristen Anderson reported:

On Tuesday, US food companies and Monsanto sealed a critical victory as the House Agricultural Committee approved a measure that bans the mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods and prevents cities and counties from banning GMO crops within their jurisdictions. Several counties in California and Oregon already have bans in place, and this threatens those restrictions. The measure also paves the way toward preventing food companies from even telling you that their food is GMO free.

Despite the fact that more than 65 countries all over the world enforce some sort of GMO labeling for their citizens, America doesn’t give a crap about its citizens in so many glaringly obvious ways it’s become a running joke. Knowing what we are putting into our bodies should be a basic fundamental right but instead, we have to wade through a food label with six-syllable ingredients we can barely pronounce and still have no idea whether or not what we are eating has been genetically tampered with in ways that could negatively impact our health.

This is yet another attempt to shatter the rights of all Americans at the expense of one of Washington’s top lobbying clients.

While public-private partnerships conspire to protect Big Agra’s market from image damage, the potential health effects of genetically altered foods drenched in pesticides goes not only ignored, but suppressed.

If these items are in any way linked to the still erupting health epidemic, the lack of transparency will make it damned-near impossible for even the most well meaning doctor to connect symptoms to factors in the diet… though numerous experts have warned of the likelihood of such detrimental consequences.

The bastards are in charge, so…

Eat wisely, read all the labels you can, and learn to provide for yourself with local foods from farmers and sources you trust (maybe even your own neighborhood or backyard).

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Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton Dykes created Truthstream Media.com as an outlet to examine the news, uncover the deceptions, pierce through the fabric of illusions, know the real enemy, unshackle from the system, and begin to imagine the path towards taking back our lives, one step at a time, so that one day we might truly be free…

This work was published at TruthStream Media and is reprinted with permission and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.