Guest Blogger Attorney James Brownell responds to the Boston Globe’s editorial staff for their editorial (August 3, 2015) in which they not only supported the Dark Act, but did so with industry talking points and unwarranted criticism, over-generalization and stereotyping of the people who oppose legislative attempts to restrict the rights of consumers to know what is in their food. The editorial was published August 3, 2015
The editorial published in the Boston Globe titled “Science, not fear, should guide food labeling laws” reeks of industry talking points and flat out lies. If we were using science and not “fear” or other factors, we would have had 2 years studies on GMOs and (assuming we had the same results as the studies in France and England) we would have never brought it to market in the first place. The Globe supports House Rep. Mike Pompeo legislation, HR 1599: The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. I prefer the critical name “The DARK Act” which stands for: “Denying Americans the Right to Know.” This bill blocks state and local efforts to require GMO labeling. Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have proposed laws requiring labels on GMOs – any such state laws would be struck down and the FDA would be prevented from establishing national mandatory standards. This furthers the current policy that lets companies voluntarily label GMO foods. The problem with this is that they don’t! At this time NO company does so. This bill will go further and allow companies to continue to label genetically modified foods as “natural”. This bill was a Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) initiative that wants to keeps consumers uninformed about what they eat. GMA and its member companies lobby Congress intensively to block GMO labeling. Enacting HR 1599 would let food producers continue to use GMOs without letting consumers know those products are in their food.
About 95 % of Americans now want to know if there food contains GMOs. The industry talking points the Globe cites as fact ignore the overwhelming consensus of Globe readers and mounting scientific evidence (see here and here). It is hard to contest every misstatement and flat out lie the globe cites as valid reasons to keep the broken system in place:
1. “virtually all crops have been genetically modified by humans over the past 10,000 years” is one of the most cited, flat out lies that have been spewed from the pro GMO lobby. The fact is that no, we have not been genetically modifying crops for hundreds or thousands of years. This confuses breeding and crossing plants with what genetic engineers do when they manipulate and cross different species of plants with bacteria and virus. GMOs cross species barriers and allows for the injection of bacteria, virus and e-coli into seeds that grow corn, soy, sugar beet, cotton seeds and canola. This has been going on less than 30 years, not over 100 or even 10,000 years as the pro GMO lobby contends. (See: “Genetic Engineering is Very Different than Traditional Breeding,” by Belinda Martineau, Biotech Salon; October 16, 2015)
2. The Globe states that GMOs are safe (in “study after study”) when the reality is the opposite. (See: The Absurdity of Claiming that ‘All GMOs are Safe,’ By Dr. Belinda Martineau, Biotech Salon; June 16, 2015).
The FDA never did their own studies on this, and in fact the consensus of the FDA’s own scientists (also see here, here, here and here) was that we need further testing to see if unintended and hard to foresee problems exist, such as allergens, toxins or genetic damage. They were overruled by the first Bush Administration which wanted this on the market at all costs. (“20 Years of GMO Policy That Keeps Americans in the Dark about Their Food,” by Dave Murphy, published by: The Huffington Post; July 30, 2012). The thousands of studies that say GMOs are safe were specifically designed to find no problems. Most were 90 day studies that conveniently dismissed any abnormal findings. The Globe ignores the fact that there has been 2 year duration, double blind independent studies in England and France that found real differences with GMOs and roundup and a correlation with tumors, cancer, damage to kidneys, liver, mind and massive sterility problems. Just in case you think this is a fluke – there were also studies in Egypt, Spain and Russia that all independently found the exact same problems. Monsanto has spent millions to kill these studies and silence the scientists. We know that GMO plants have much more roundup in them than non GMO, and this roundup stuff has been classified by the World Health Organization as a probable carcinogen with links to birth defects, tumors, sterility and cancers! The yields on GMOs are no greater and it does nothing to help the starving masses. Actually the reverse is true (“Failure to Yield – Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops,” by Doug Gurian-Sherman, published by: the Union of Concerned Scientists; April 2009). Farmers cannot use seeds from their own crops, and GMO agriculture kills bees, infects our water and air and the seeds and poison that go on top all have to come from Monsanto, who as a company seem to have no problem putting people at risk, whether it’s agent orange, dioxin or DDT. We know that this creates an unhealthy and unsustainable monoculture with Monsanto at the top; it is creating “super weeds” which require even more herbicides (“Superweeds: How Biotech Crops Bolster the Pesticide Industry,” published by: Food & Water Watch; July 2013; see also here).We know for a fact that Monsanto, a company with a bad track record on safety, reaps huge profits from this, and we also know that the use of Roundup in GMO crops has doubled in the last 5 years. This Roundup is now in our rainwater and our bodies. We know that the heavy use of Roundup contributes to bee colony collapse, and GM crops infect organic farms with gene flow, or cross-contamination (“The Myth of Coexistence: Why Transgenic Crops Are Not Compatible With Agroecologically Based Systems of Production,” by Miguel A. Altieri, Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Vol. 25, No. 4, August 2005, 361-371 and “Transgene Escape – Global Atlas of Uncontrolled Spread of Genetically Engineered Plants,” by Andreas Bauer-Panskus, Sylvia Hamberger and Christoph Then; published by Testbiotech; November, 2013 ). We actually have much more chemicals on our foods than ever before, and the EPA in 2013 doubled the amount of Roundup that can stay in your foods. (“Another win for Monsanto: US raises allowable levels of company’s pesticide in crops’” by RT USA; July 23, 2013; and “Pesticide Tolerances: Glyphosate: Rule document issued by the Environmental Protection Agency”). The herbicide Roundup or its active ingredient glyphosate has more than doubled in use, from 85-90 million pounds in 2001 to 180-185 million pounds in 2007. (Just what happens when farmers spray increasing amounts of herbicides and insecticides on GM crops that also have pesticides built-into every cell from the Bt toxin?) These chemicals go into our drinking water, infect our land and kill our pollinators. It is now well known that organic produce has more vitamins and minerals; a study from the United Kingdom reported that organic crops are higher in essential minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamin C. (“Higher Antioxidant and Lower Cadmium Concentrations and Lower Incidence of Pesticide Residues in Organically Grown Crops: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analyses,” by Marcin Baranski, et al. British Journal of Nutrition / Volume 112 / Issue 05 / September 2014, pp 794-811). Organic foods have 4 times less pesticide residue. GMOs are another unsafe and failed science (“The GMO Emperor has no Clothes: A Global Citizens Report on the State of GMOs – False Promises, Failed Technologies,” by Vandana Shiva, Debbie Barker and Caroline Lockhart) which is being driven not by scientific study or to feed the starving but by politics and money. Monsanto can sell the seeds and the poison that goes on top of it. They have corrupted our political process with huge sums of money, and improperly influenced studies done by respected scientists (including doctors Arpad Pusztai (also see here, here, and here) and Gilles-Eric Séralini – see also here and here). It is time that these GMOs were labeled.
James Brownell, Esq.
I am not certain this matters, but I have been a lawyer in Massachusetts for the past 25 years.
सत्यमेव जयते – Satyameva Jayate
(Truth Ultimately Triumphs)
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