Biotechnology Run Amok

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You are a powerful person. Learn to use your power. Use your voice and use your dollars.

Since biotechnology, chemical and food manufacturers have been able to defeat all labeling initiatives1 except those that aren’t really labeling initiatives (because they do nothing unless their trigger clause requirements are met2) so far, they are moving full steam ahead with a variety of new genetically engineered crops. The USDA lists the following as petitions pending:

Biotechnology: Transition of Pending Petitions

The following pending petitions will proceed with the improved process for soliciting public input (early public notice of availability of petition, followed by a second notice of availability of decisionmaking documents).*

11-342-01p Bayer/Genective glyphosate tolerant corn

11-234-01p Dow 2,4-D, glyphosate, and glufosinate tolerant soybean

11-202-01p Monsanto increased-yield soybean

11-188-01p Monsanto glyphosate tolerant canola

11-182-01p JR Simplot low acrylamide/reduced black spot potatoes

11-063-01p Pioneer glyphosate tolerant canola

11-019-01p ArborGen cold-tolerant eucalyptus

10-281-01p Monsanto male-sterile corn

10-188-01p Monsanto dicamba tolerant soybean

10-161-01p Okanagan Speciality Fruits non-browning apple

10-070-01p Virginia Tech blight resistant peanuts

09-015-01p BASF imidazolinone tolerant soybean

The following pending petitions will proceed with the previous process for soliciting public input (simultaneous notice of availability of the petition and decision making documents).*

11-244-01p Pioneer insect tolerant/herbicide tolerant corn

10-336-01p Syngenta rootworm resistant corn

09-349-01p Dow 2,4-D and glufosinate tolerant soybean

09-328-01p Bayer glyphosate and isoxaflutole tolerant soybean

09-233-01p Dow 2,4-D tolerant corn

09-183-01p Monsanto modified-oil soybeans

What can I do about it?

Read, absorb, immerse yourself in the topic until
you can converse fairly well about that topic.

I know that for most of us, involvement in the democratic process of government (which is really a representative republic) is confusing at best and completely overwhelming at worst. I recommend that each person choose a topic which they feel passionate about whether it be GMOs, gay rights, or religious liberty, whatever really matters to you. Spend a few minutes each day scouring news sites for information on that topic. Read, absorb, immerse yourself in the topic until you can converse fairly well about it. Next, find like-minded people who are also passionate about that issue. Please fight the Groupthink3 tendency to just go with the flow when you find a group and not speak out when you see, read or hear something that doesn’t seem quite right. Your voice might be the one voice that brings clarity to a particular discussion. Always be polite and as logical as possible when discussing on any forum but do not be apologetic. Your voice is just as important as everyone else’s voice.


USDA Biotechnology: Federal Register Notices Open for Public Comment.

Comment today on the pending petition for approval of GMO apples that will not brown when exposed to oxygen.


Next, do not spend all day signing Change.org petitions using form letters. For instance, public comment periods open up for new GMOs that are being pushed through by chemical companies (see link above). I will take the time to comment on each one as they open up for comment, and do not just copy and paste someone else’s comment. Comment websites have software to identify copies of the same comments and discount them. I use my voice whenever I can. Does it make a difference? I believe our government is so corrupt that no matter how many people oppose genetically modified crops they will be approved. I know that sounds defeatist, but it is just realistic. We must still speak out. How long did it take women to get the vote? How long did it take minorities to gain equal rights? Speak anyway. Voice your opinion anyway. Even if the USDA is completely corrupt, all is not lost. We are very powerful because WE are the consumers.

Warning: Graphic and extremely profane language. Just skip this if swearing really bothers you, and I recommend headphones if you have children nearby. George Carlin tells it like it is: “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

A couple of years ago I began learning about GMOs. I had never heard that term in my entire life (I am 53 years old). The whole genetically modified crops thing was approved and introduced into our food supply quietly starting in 19944. There were no big headlines touting the miracle tomato that had a longer shelf life in United States newspapers. It was kept very quiet as variety after variety of GM crops were approved, grown by farmers and consumed by Americans. They are now in nearly every product sold in grocery stores unless the product is labeled USDA Certified Organic, and even those are allowed to be slightly contaminated by GMOs because if not there would be no organic products.

We are powerful as a people because we choose what to buy with our dollars. I spend approximately $800 a month on food5. That is almost $10,000 a year. Multiply that times all of the households in the US. That is a lot of money. When I walk into the grocery store I have the power to walk right past Kellogg, Kashi, Post, Quaker, General Mills, and Barbara’s Bakery because their products contain genetically modified ingredients from GMO sugar from beets to soy to corn to canola. Even an ingredient as simple as “vinegar” is made from GMO corn unless it says “cider vinegar.” Vegetable oil contains corn, canola, soy, and any other oils derived from GMO crops. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Velveeta, cake mixes, even those wonderful little bags of chocolate chips all contain GMOs. Granola bars, potato chips (canola, soy, cottonseed and corn oil are all GMO), Doritos, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, even so-called “sugar” in soft drinks are all GMO. If it doesn’t say “cane sugar” it is derived from GMO sugar beets or corn. You have the power to say “No more!” to genetically modified food. But do you have the willpower? We had to give up almost all junk food, soft drinks, most convenience foods, certainly frozen and packaged meals in order to avoid GMOs, and I know we are not 100% successful.

You have the power. General Mills recently announced that they have sourced non-GMO ingredients for their plain Cheerios cereal product6. This is a huge victory for GMO-Free organizations around the country. I am guessing that this is a test product by Big Food to see if they can capitalize on the GMO-free demand from Americans. You see, Big Food is owned by a handful of conglomerates that now control the majority of the US food supply7. That alone should scare Americans. When you choose to boycott GMO food products you are depriving chemical, biotechnology, and these Big Food companies of their tainted profits. You send them a message that you refuse to buy GMOs (it is especially helpful to send the company a quick email stating that you are not buying their products as long as they contain GMO ingredients — it only takes about 5 minutes of your time).

Unless we stand up to Big Food, chemical and biotechnology companies and send the message that we do not trust the USDA and FDA to keep us safe from dangerous foods and chemicals, they will win. We must stand up today.

Make a choice. Begin to substitute non-GMO foods and ingredients (see GMOs: Learning to Read Labels). It can be done. Once you know which foods are non-GMO you will not only save money but you will probably lose weight and feel much better, too. We can win this battle by using our voices (yes, comment on these pending petitions at the USDA online), writing emails to food companies explaining that we will not buy their products until they source non-GMO ingredients, and using our dollars to buy non-GMO food and avoiding products that are complicit in the GMO takeover.

Takeover? Huh? GMO crops are contaminating non-GMO crops every day. GMO wheat was found growing in Oregon even though no commercial GMO wheat crops have been approved in the US or anywhere else in the world9. GMO canola has been found to have escaped into the wild10. Canola is a brassica and it has escaped commercial fields and pollinated wild varieties. Massive amounts of glyphosate have destroyed soil life (meaning killed off the organisms that naturally live in the soil) all over the US11, and now Dow wants to use 2,4-D8 which contains dioxins and is derived from Agent Orange to control weeds on crops. It is time to put a stop to GMOs in the United States. You are a powerful person. Learn to use your power. Use your voice and use your dollars.

Sources:

1Food giants pour millions into defeating Washington GMO label measure BY ERIC M. JOHNSON AND CAREY GILLAM. Oct 2013. Reuters.com. and
In facts & numbers: Absolute majority of Americans want GMO food to be labeled. RT.com. December 2, 2013. and
Washington State Votes Down GMO Labeling. Have Food Giants Become Unstoppable? By Willy Blackmore. TakePart.com. November 2013.
2Connecticut becomes first state with GMO law, but… By David DesRoches, Hersam Acorn Newspaper. June 5, 2013.
3YouTube Video: Groupthink Explained
4GMO Timeline: A History of Genetically Modified Foods.
5Weekly grocery bill ranges from $146-289 for average family
6Cheerios drops genetically modified ingredients by Bruce Horovitz. USAToday.com. January 2, 2014.
7America’s Biggest Food Companies. Investopedia.com.
82,4-D Fact Sheet and
Dioxin in Pesticides used in Australia and
Four Corners investigation finds dangerous dioxins in widely used herbicide 2,4-D
9NPR: In Oregon, The GMO Wheat Mystery Deepens by Dan Charles, July 17, 2013
10NPR: Genetically Modified Canola ‘Escapes’ Farm Fields by GEOFFREY BRUMFIEL,
August 06, 2010.
11Non-Target Effects of Glyphosate on Soil Microbes by Matt D. Busse, Alice W. Ratcliff, Carol J. Shestak, and Robert F. Powers, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Redding, CA. PDF.
11Scientist Finding Many Negative Impacts of Roundup Ready GM Crops USDA doesn’t want to publicize studies showing negative impacts By Ken Roseboro, ed. The Organic and Non-GMO Report, Dec 2009/Jan 2010.

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