Monsanto may soon be allowed to conduct its own environmental studies. Currently, the USDA is responsible for assessing environmental impacts of new GMO crops, but the agency plans to at least temporarily hand over environmental impact reporting responsibilities to the biotech companies behind GMO crops.
If this isn't the classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse I don't know what is.
The two-year pilot program will allow the companies to conduct their own environmental assessments, or alternately outsource the work to contractors. The USDA will retain the final say in determining the safety of crops.
According to Fast Company:
"The USDA won't actually admit that it's bad at performing its duties -- instead, the agency claims that the move will make the environmental reporting process more timely, efficient, and cost-effective ... [But if Monsanto] has a vested interest in getting one of its crops deregulated, why wouldn't it try to fudge the numbers on an environmental review? And why wouldn't its hired contractors do the same?"
You might think that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) don't affect you. But in fact, up to 90 percent of all major U.S. grown crops are grown with genetically engineered seed, and can be used in human and animal foods without any safety testing or labeling.
This includes GM corn, soybeans, canola, and sugar beets, which have made their way into approximately 80 percent of current U.S. grocery store items.
If you're not buying organically produced foods (or growing your own food), then you're probably eating genetically modified ingredients in most of the processed foods you're consuming.
The UK Progressive reports:
"Scientific testing has not been done on what effects GMOs may have on humans. What has been shown is that GMO foods contain excessive amounts of certain toxins, the effects of which have not been determined. Genetically modified foods also negatively impact the environment by creating more toxins and potentially leading to the creation of mutated soil bacteria, which may lead to more harm regarding the future of food production."
This latest development is truly the epitome of a Bad Idea.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the agency responsible for assessing the environmental impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops, but they've not been very efficient in this regard. So, in an "effort" to make the environmental reporting process "more timely, efficient, and cost-effective," they've decided to create a two-year long pilot program that allows biotech companies like Monsanto to conduct their own environmental assessments.
This decision is an absolute abomination of massive conflicts of interest.
The Fox is Yet Again Allowed to Guard the Hen House…
What possible incentive does Monsanto have to find environmental harm resulting from the crops they seek to get approved? And if they hire contractors to perform the review, what incentive would they have to come up with a negative assessment?
This is particularly pernicious because of all the chemical companies Monsanto is far and away the most egregious in their blatant disregard for values. They have extorted millions of dollars from small famers no differently than New York City Mafia crime bosses. Well, that might be acceptable behavior in organized crime, but it is reprehensible in a multi-billion dollar corporation.
If history has shown us anything, it's that industries CANNOT police themselves. The end result is always the same—corporate vested interests win every time. This is exactly why we need INDEPENDENT agencies to do safety reviews.
The USDA will get "the final say." But honestly, how likely is the USDA to decline approval once an environmental assessment claims the crop poses no threat to the environment? If they can't find the time to do the original assessment, they surely will not find the time to double-check the assessments handed in by Monsanto and other biotech companies.
Another MAJOR consideration is that Tom Vilsack is the Secretary of Agriculture. Vilsack has been a major supporter of Monsanto and is a strong believer in genetically engineered pharmaceutical crops, especially pharmaceutical corn.
This is a set-up that will endanger consumers everywhere, in more ways than one. As Ariel Schwartz writes for Fast Company, "if it wasn't so dangerous, it would be funny." For example, we already KNOW that GM crops are causing a variety of environmental problems,
- Roundup-resistant superweeds, which forces farmers to use ever increasing amounts of pesticides and herbicides
- Cross-pollination between GM and non-GM crops that threaten to destroy the organic industry as a whole
- Contamination of waterways with Cry1Ab, a specific type of Bt toxin from GM crops
- Creation of new pest problems
- Roundup herbicide, which is used in increasing amounts of more than 80 percent of all GM crops planted worldwide, has been found to be lethal to frogs and toxic to human placental and embryonic cells
Allowing Monsanto to police itself is an absolute disaster of epic proportions, make no mistake about it. And this makes it all the more important to educate yourself about GM foods, and make every possible effort to avoid them if you want to protect your health, not to mention the health of your children!
Do You Know how Much GM Food You're Eating?
It's important to realize that as much as 90-95 percent of the major US-grown crops are genetically engineered, and subsequently used in human- and animal food production without labeling and with no safety testing whatsoever.
These GM crops include:
Corn Canola Alfalfa (New GM crop as of 2011)
Soy Cottonseed Sugar derived from sugar beets
Additionally, the following produce are also commonly GM:
- Crookneck squash
- Hawaiian papaya
These GM goods are now used as ingredients in approximately 80 percent of all processed foods!
So, unless you're buying all organic food, or grow your own veggies and raise your own livestock, or at the very least buy all whole foods (even if conventionally grown) and cook everything from scratch, chances are you're consuming GM foods every single day of the week.
Even more insidious is the fact that anytime you're buying conventional meat, you're essentially eating GMO. This is because the vast majority of animal products produced in the US today, which are raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), are fed with GM feed (typically GM corn and soy), in addition to being given genetically engineered hormones. Soon CAFO cattle everywhere will also be fed GM alfalfa, which will further drive up the percentage of GM feed these animals consume in total.
This is just one of the reasons why I strongly advise everyone to avoid consuming conventional meats. If you cannot afford to buy all your food organic, then focus on buying organic meats.
Demand for Non-GM Canola on the Rise
According to an Australian ABC News report, demand for 'sustainable' canola, meaning non-GM canola, is now so high that the price for this commodity is outpacing the GM variety.
Tom Puddy with CBH, Western Australia's largest grain handler, is quoted as saying:
"It really comes down to customer preference to have a non-GM product in the food chain. There's consumers that will demand that, so they'll pay a premium at a supermarket shelf for particular items that are certified non-GM. 'The other driver is from the by-product. That's fed to animals and they don't want to have a GM by-product in their food chain that's fed to their animals."
The extra price is worth it in my opinion. Although safety research is still sorely lacking, the studies that have been made indicate that things do not bode well for us, long-term, if we do not stop genetically altering our food supply.
Follow Your Instincts: GM Foods are NOT Safe
Although the evil GM giants like Monsanto insist that GM foods are no different from conventionally grown varieties, the research in existence begs to differ. Here is just a sampling of the unsavory findings associated with GM foods:
GM peas caused lung damage in mice Offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce GM potatoes may cause cancer in rats Male mice fed GM soy had damaged young sperm cells Bacteria in your gut can take up DNA from GM food The embryo offspring of GM soy-fed mice had altered DNA functioning GM foods lead to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, specifically the kidney, liver, heart and spleen Several US farmers reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed on GM corn varieties Bt corn caused a wide variety of immune responses in mice, commonly associated with diseases such as arthritis, Lou Gehrig's disease, osteoporosis, and inflammatory bowel disease Investigators in India have documented fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues, including deaths, among buffaloes fed GM cottonseed products
Just Say No to GMO!
GMOs may be the greatest health disaster in the American diet. (By the way, remember that while fructose is toxic to your body in and of itself, the vast majority of fructose you consume is in the form of high fructose corn syrup, much of which comes from GM corn!)
Within the first nine years of the introduction of GM crops in 1996, multiple chronic illnesses jumped from 7 percent to 13 percent of the population, food allergies doubled in less time, and many other ailments have been on the rise ever since. Millions may already be suffering health problems caused by genetically modified foods and they just don't know it.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has urged doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients, citing animal studies that show how GMOs cause disorders such as vital organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system problems, accelerated aging, infertility, and dysfunctional regulation of insulin and cholesterol. Unfortunately, few doctors are paying attention and following this advice...
Again, you simply must take control of your own health, and take it upon yourself to ensure you're not unwittingly destroying your and your family's health with every bite.