Truth-in-labeling Proponents Bombard White House With 250k Petition Signatures Demanding Obama Veto Bill That Strips Away Americans’ Right To Know About Which Foods Are Unnatural & Have Been Genetically Modified

GMO labeling
Source: NaturalNews.com
Ethan A.Huff
July 17, 2016

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the final stop for a controversial bill recently passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, that would scrap state laws like those of Vermont that mandate package labeling for foods that contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). And more than 250,000 advocates for truth-in-labeling are now petitioning Barack Obama to veto the legislation immediately, and honor the will of the people rather than corporations in this important matter.

S.764, also known as the “DARK” (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, is one of the latest efforts by the chemical food industry to keep Americans literally in the dark about what they’re purchasing and feeding to their families every time they go to the grocery store. It was also offered up as a federal solution to the problem of patchwork GMO labeling laws already enacted at the state level, but what it actually threatens to do is un-label GMOs, and make it more difficult for the average consumer to identify them.

On Friday, July 15, at 1 p.m., signatures collected at WhiteHouse.gov, ThePetitionSite.org, MoveOn.org and many other websites were hand-delivered to the White House demanding redress. Helping to spearhead the effort were the advocacy groups Organic Consumers Association, Center for Food Safety, Citizens for GMO Labeling, Consumers Union, Cornucopia Institute, Food Babe, Food Democracy Now, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, GMO Free USA, GMO Inside, Label GMOs, March Against Monsanto, Moms Across America, Occupy Monsanto, National Organic Coalition, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and Vermont Right to Know GMOs.

This coalition of 286 advocacy groups wrote a letter to Obama asking him to veto S.764 on the grounds that it won’t advance the cause of GMO labeling. S.764 is also overtly unconstitutional, as it overrides existing state laws that mandate GMO labeling on food packaging. Another major point of contention are the GMO exemptions in S.764, which account for as many as 99 percent of all GMOs currently used in food.

“The FDA argues that the bill may not lead to a single label, because of the inadequate definition adopted by the Senate,” the letter explains. “Even if the rules and regulations can be developed, S. 764 allows companies to conceal genetically engineered ingredient information behind QR Codes, websites or 800 numbers which would require consumers to have internet access and a smartphone to determine what’s in their food. This is confusing and discriminatory.”

Will Obama finally step up to the plate and support Americans’ right to know?

For a president who’s constantly nagging the country over issues of equality, it only seems reasonable that Obama would want to nullify S.764 and urge Congress to come up with a real GMO labeling bill that, I don’t know, involves actually labeling GMOs on food product packaging. S.764 is a Trojan Horse bill devised by the chemical lobby to further conceal GMOs in the American food supply, and it’s particularly offensive to poor people and minorities who lack the technological infrastructure necessary to identify GMOs under the mandates of S.764.

Remember, Obama promised on the campaign trail that his administration would “let folks know if their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they are buying.” All it would take for this to happen is a simple piece of legislation outlining what constitutes a bio-engineered ingredient, and how that ingredient is to be labeled. As is already the case in most other developed countries throughout the world, a simple package label stating “produced with genetic engineering” would suffice.

To learn more about how to grow your own GMO-free food at home, be sure to check out the amazing Vertical Garden Tower.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

99 Percent Of GMOs Could Be EXCLUDED From Labelling Under Newly Proposed Law

GMO labeling law
Source: NaturalNews.com
Jonathan Benson
July 5, 2016

There’s a new GMO labeling bill moving through Congress that, contrary to what its backers claim it to be, is nothing more than a covert anti-labeling bill that threatens to undo many years’ worth of hard work by true GMO labeling advocates pushing for meaningful reform in this important area of food policy and public health.

Known as the Roberts-Stabenow Bill, S.764 is the outcome of an exhausting negotiation process between Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman; Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.); and a powerful food industry lobby that’s proven it will stop at nothing to keep Americans in the dark about what they’re eating. On its surface, the bill seems to be about developing a comprehensive labeling scheme for genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in food – but dig a little deeper and it’s something much more sinister.

In an open letter to the two senators, the Center for Food Safety (CFS), Food and Water Watch and a consortium of other food safety, farm, environmental and consumer advocacy groups is urging a rejection of S.764, citing the fact that rather than implementing a workable GMO labeling system, the legislation would instead exempt as much as 99 percent of the GMOs currently in use from ever having to be labeled.

The letter also points to failures in the legislation, including its lack of enforceable consequences if food manufacturers fail to comply, as well as its ridiculous proposal to “label” foods with so-called “smart” barcodes that can only be scanned with smartphones – something that as much as 50 percent of rural and low-income Americans don’t even own due to their high cost.

“… we oppose the bill because it is actually a non-labeling bill under the guise of a mandatory labeling bill,” the authors of the letter write in their petition.

“It exempts major portions of current and future GMO foods from labeling; it is on its face discriminatory against low income, rural and elderly populations; it is a gross violation of the sovereignty of numerous states around the nation; and it provides no enforcement against those who violate the law.”

S.764 was crafted in secret without any input from constituents

Another major issue with the Roberts-Stabenow legislation is the fact that it was crafted in secret without any meaningful input from the people who will be affected by it: the constituents. The details of what it would entail were never shared prior to its unveiling; hearings were never held; and testimony either for or against was never given.

“The bill addresses a critical issue for the American public, yet it was neither subject to a single hearing nor any testimony whatsoever,” the letter adds.

“Rather, the bill’s preemption of the democratically decided-upon labeling laws of several states, and seed laws of numerous states and municipalities, is the result of non-transparent ‘bargaining’ between two senators and industry interest groups.”

One of the obvious reasons for this is that meaningful GMO labeling legislation that was already passed by constituents in states like Vermont and Connecticut would be wholly deconstructed under S.764, and replaced with draconian exemptions that favor the food industry rather than the people. S.764 would effectively steamroll both state and municipal sovereignty on the issue of GMO labeling, preempting the will of the people in order to pacify GMO purveyors and producers.

Continue Reading At: NaturalNews.com

Iowa Farmer Exposes Complete Failure Of Genetically Modified Foods, Blasts Round Up Ready Crops For Creating Superweeds & Superbugs That Kill Vital Insects & Birds

Iowa farmers
Source: NaturalNews.com
Ethan A. Huff
July 5, 2016

The media is notorious for showcasing genetic engineering as some kind of miracle for food production, but what do actual farmers think of the technology? In a scathing op-ed piece published in The Des Moines Register, Iowa farmer George Naylor holds nothing back in debunking many of the common myths about GMOs and chemical herbicides which food modification apologists often use as justification for continuing to alter the genetics of our food.

A board member at the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Non-GMO Project, Naylor is more than qualified to speak on the subject. He comes from a long line of farmers who did much the same thing back in their day as he does now: grow many acres’ worth of corn and soybeans. But, unlike many of his neighbors, Naylor grows only non-GMO corn and soybeans, explaining that transgenic varieties are simply too problematic.

Besides plunging many farmers into a hopeless debt spiral, which also contributes to widespread farm consolidation by big agriculture corporations, GMO farming is destroying the habitats and food sources of our most precious pollinators: insects and birds. Crop chemicals like glyphosate herbicide (Roundup) kill everything in the areas where they’re sprayed, which the exception of the GMO crops that resist them, destroying the diverse ecological systems that maintain our soils and help naturally protect against pests and disease.

These chemical sprays are also creating resistance among the GMO crops they were designed to protect, leaving them vulnerable to the very same problems as the conventional crops they’re quickly replacing. Not only do these chemical interventions not work, but according to Naylor, they actually create more problems than before, including notable upticks in cancer and other chronic illnesses.

“[R]ather than boosting rural economies, genetically engineered crops have drained billions of dollars from them,” Naylor writes, adding that “the temporary ease of weed control has led to even more farm consolidation; and the unbelievable power of the herbicide glyphosate to kill both annual and perennial weeds has destroyed food and nesting resources for many of our important insects and birds.”

“Farmers have spent billions of dollars on genetically engineered seeds only to see weeds become resistant to the glyphosate on Roundup Ready crops. Corn rootworms, too, have become resistant to the most common insecticidal proteins included in many GMO corn varieties. These resistance problems require even more application of herbicides and pesticides that threaten the health of rural Americans … and add to chemical residues in food products.”

We don’t need lousy GMO labeling – we need a ban!

With all that we now know about the risks involved with GMOs – the cancer risk alone validating the concerns of skeptics – it’s remarkable that transgenic species are still allowed to be sold without labels. Heck, these organisms should be banned outright simply out of precaution for human and environmental health, and yet neither a ban nor labeling appear to be on the horizon.

The chemical industry is pushing for a compromise called “Smart Labels” that would allow consumers with smartphones to scan an item on the grocery store shelf and identify the origins of its ingredients. But, as Naylor points out, this system is inherently discriminatory (not everyone has a smartphone), not to mention incredibly impractical (who has time to scan every single item during a routine shopping trip?).

“We are in the dark simply because a handful of multinational agribusiness and food companies have spent more than $100 million over the past three years to fight the consumer’s right to know, and now are pushing senators from both sides of the aisle to endorse discriminatory smart labeling,” he writes. “Voters and consumers have enough to keep us awake at night; we don’t need to be worrying about what’s really contained in the food we put on our tables.”

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Victory! Judge Closes Industry Loophole, Barring Pesticides From Compost Used In Organic Food Production

USDA
Source: NaturalNews.com
David Gutierrez
June 30, 2016

In a victory for organic consumers, a federal judge has tossed out a rule change by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that permitted the use of compost containing synthetic pesticides in growing organic foods.

“The court’s decision upholds the integrity of the organic standard and is an incredible victory for organic consumers, organic farmers and the environment,” said George Kimbrell, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “On the flipside, the decision is a resounding defeat of industrial food actors trying to sell out organic integrity to pad their own pocketbooks.”

The nonprofits, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, and Center for Environmental Health, had sued the USDA, claiming that the agency violated the law by implementing the change by means of a “guidance,” and without any public input or participation.

“We applaud the Court’s decision to protect the integrity of the organic program,” said Caroline Cox, research director of the Center for Environmental Health. “We will continue to watchdog the USDA to ensure that the program meets consumers’ expectations for meaningful organic standards.”

Collusion by ‘Big Organics’

Before the USDA’s quiet rule change, the federal organic standard prohibited the use of any compost containing any substance not allowed in organic farming, which included synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. This rule had never been challenged by the composting and waste management industry, until California organic regulators banned several composts from organic use, after finding them to be contaminated with pesticides. The National Organics Program supported this action.

The waste management industry hit back, with the predictable support of the pesticide industry and the more surprising support of the Organic Trade Association, a trade group for large-scale organic producers. The industry asked the USDA to change the rule, and the USDA did so, by issuing a “guidance” on how to interpret the existing organics rules. By doing this, the USDA avoided having to initiate a publicly accountable process on a rule change.

The organic watchdog groups sued, alleging that the “guidance” was actually a rule change and, under federal law, required a public process. The waste management industry and its allies asked the court to dismiss the case, but the court refused.

The industry groups then asked the court to leave the rule in place, even if it was found to have been passed illegally!

The fight is not over!

However, the judge declined to play along. The court ruled that the USDA had in fact violated the law in implementing a rule change via “guidance” without public participation. And it ordered the new rule struck down.

“The court decision upholds an organic industry that has been built on a foundation of consumer and farmer investment in ecologically sound practices, principles and values to protect health and the environment,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “USDA has violated a basic requirement of public accountability in the standard setting process, which is fundamental to public trust in the organic label and continued growth in organic production.”

Of course, opponents of the organics movement are not resting. The very day after this victory, the Senate Agriculture Committee introduced its newest version of the anti-GMO-labeling Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. This “compromise” bill would allow the labeling of GMO ingredients, but only in the form of “smart labels” and QR codes only accessible to those with smartphones or via a 1-800 number or website.

“This is not a labeling bill; it is a non-labeling bill,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety. “This kind of labeling system is inadequate and inherently discriminatory against one third of Americans who do not own smartphones, and even moreso [sic] against rural, low income, and elderly populations or those without access to the internet.

“We are appalled that our elected officials would support keeping Americans in the dark about what is in our food and even more appalled that they would do it on behalf Big Chemical and food corporations. We will work to defeat this DARK Act just as we have before.”

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Monsanto’s GM Wheat in Development Despite Consumer Push Back

wheats_dna-gmo-735_350

Source: NaturalSociety.com
Christina Sarich
February 24, 2016

Some think that with minimal market saturation, GM wheat could become a strong seller in the US, just like genetically modified corn, soy, canola oil, cottonseed, and other GM crops. Monsanto ditched the efforts to develop this particular crop 10 years ago, but has relatively recently begun working to create a new strain of the crop. Why the sudden interest again in GM wheat? [1]

Monsanto has been working hard to create new GM wheat over the last year. This, after abandoning efforts in the 1990’s. At its Chesterfield Village Research Center, scientists say they can create a wheat-strain that is resistant to a trio of herbicides. Despite consumer push-back, the company will spend more than $150 million to alter just one gene in a wheat seed.

That $150 million could go a long way to teach farmers around the world how to grow food sustainably. Why does Monsanto wish to put that money toward genetically modifying nature when we know that we are destroying our farmland at unprecedented rates by using so many pesticides and herbicides (via genetically modified crops engineered to withstand copious amounts of the chemicals)?

The agriculture giant was on the verge of seeking regulatory approval for a Roundup Ready version of hard red spring wheat, typically used for bread flour in the 1990’s, but in May 2004, Monsanto halted the program citing changing market conditions. It was clear that growers — worried about consumer backlash — weren’t ready.

“There was massive opposition,” said Bill Freese, a GMO critic and science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety.

Have farmers also come to the conclusion that Monsanto’s promises about GM and Bt toxic crops producing higher yields are empty? The cost of GM seeds keep going up, so even if another strain of GM crop was developed – wheat – could farmers even profit from growing it?

As reported by STL Today:

“It didn’t take long, however, before wheat farmers grew tired of watching neighbors switch to more profitable corn and soybeans — both having seen greater yield increases fueled by stronger breeding programs and genetic modifications. By 2006, the number of U.S. acres planted with wheat had dropped to 57 million, down from 75 million a decade earlier. Soybeans, on the other hand, surged from 64 million to 75 million during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

“We came to the conclusion that we had to do something,” said Paul Penner, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. “It’s no fun raising wheat if you are making a loss on it.”

Consumers have demanded GM labeling, and nations across the world are banning GM crops. Where does Monsanto plan on selling a GM wheat variety with so many countries passing legislation that support a GM-free agricultural environment?

Continue Reading At: NaturalSociety.com

US FDA Deregulates 2 More GE Corn Strains, Unleashing More Toxic Crops On America

Source: NaturalSociety.com
By: Christina Sarich

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently made it a little easier for Monsanto and Syngenta to push their poison. The agency has deregulated two more strains of genetically engineered corn.

Though the FDA stated in September that it planned to implement more strict protocols for permitting GE wheat strains due to non-GMO crops being contaminated through cross pollination, they have apparently decided the two more GMO corn varieties don’t pose the same exact threat!

The agency’s comparative laxity in deregulating the GE corn strains is in stark contrast to increasing worldwide concern over GE crops and the increased pesticide use they reportedly bring.

Here’s the big shocker – the infiltrated US FDA decided that Monsanto’s rootworm and glyphosate-resistant strain, MON 87411, merits a non-regulated status. The agency also sold us all out to the Swiss biotech company by deregulating Syngenta’s glyphosate-resistant strain, MZHGOJG.

And another ‘coincidence?’ APHIS’ corn deregulation notices were published the same day that the environmental groups Center for Food Safety (CFS), Earthjustice, and 5 others filed a brief challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of Dow AgroSciences’ glyphosate pesticide, Enlist Duo, which pairs glyphosate with 2,4D, a doubly toxic, carcinogenic herbicide that will make cancers likely double in the next decade. Though the registration of Enlist Duo was recently reversed.

Continue Reading At: NaturalSociety.com