On Wednesday, July 18th in downtown Boise, ID, in front of Senator Mike Crapo’s office, citizens gathered for a rally organized by GMO-Free Idaho to protest the fact that our senators are not hearing our concerns about mandatory labeling for GMO foods in our state. The photos in this post are all from the rally. I was part of this group and I felt like we made an impact on the awareness of people in our area.
Currently, 14 European countries have banned GMO foods, and did so over a decade ago without any government assistance. It makes you think that with enough consumer education and grass-roots efforts, we could create enough resistance that food companies would have to discontinue their toxic practices.
Read why the majority of Americans want labeling for GM foods.
There is growing doubt in world communities about the safety and usage of GMO seeds and pesticides as is evidenced by various examples of communities rejecting GMO seeds such as Haiti who burned them, French, Spanish, and Indian citizens destroyed GMO fields and burned Bt cotton, Uganda and other locations which have rejected seed altogether. There are also increasing numbers of allies in the real food community who question it.
In addition to various countries who have banned the usage of GMO substances in the food supply, other countries are requiring labeling, as India has recently done.
Jeffery Smith of The Institute for Responsible Technology has spent a great deal of time and effort educating and spreading the word. There is a Seeds of Doubt Conference happening on October 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA, where he and other notable and respected speakers and professionals in attendance.
Here is Senator Mike Crapo’s response to our protest in downtown Boise yesterday:
“I understand the concerns expressed by many who oppose genetically engineering food products and seek mandatory labeling for foods containing GE ingredients. However, I am also aware of the many benefits provided by GE crops, including increased yields and nutrition and reduced pesticides and herbicides used in the environment. The only vote in the United States Senate to date requiring mandatory labeling for these food products, an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, was defeated by a vote of 73-26.
The United States has one of the safest and most abundant food supplies in the world. Consumer safety and a robust agricultural sector need not be mutually exclusive. GE food products are a relatively new development in commercial food production, and I agree that it is important that we continue to study and monitor this new technology that has already demonstrated positive benefits.”
The truth is, I’ve sent letters to both of these senators and others in the past, and the answers given here are no different than anything I’ve heard them say to me in “personal” reply. Clearly they don’t have anything intelligent to respond back, because the same responses continually get recycled over and over again.
Here is my rebuttal to Senator Mike Crapo’s statement:
Increased yields are not happening with GMO foods. From the Natural News site, Eco-farming outperforms GMOs at increasing crop yields and growing more food, based on a new report showing that sustainable farming can double food production in 10 years.
From the article, eco-farming “allows the People to freely grow and harvest their own food, and take advantage of what nature freely offers them in order to do so. Within the GMO paradigm, however, farmers are controlled by companies like Monsanto that sell them self-destructing “Frankenseeds.” These seeds require heavy pesticide applications in order to grow, and represent an unsustainable system that has devastated the livelihoods of thousands of farmers while failing to deliver on its promises.”
The Institute for Responsible Technology has also published referenced information on this fallacy. From the report:
“Field tests of Bt corn showed that they took longer to reach maturity and produced up to 12% lower yields than non-GM counterparts. In spite of these and other studies, the biotech industry continues to claim that GMOs are the answer to higher yields. Two reports have conclusively contradicted these claims.”
Read the Rodale Institute’s document on why GMO farming is simply a band-aid approach to fix long-term issues with short term solutions. There is also an in-depth discussion to the importance of a food system that can regenerate itself, and how the key to successful farming is healthy soil – which GMO farming destroys.
Mr. Crapo claims there are increased nutritional benefits. The “benefits” of GM foods have also not been proven. In fact, quite the opposite has occurred. Nutrition is supposed to fortify and support health. There are many connections to disease and health issues from eating GM foods: allergies, liver disease, infertility, digestive issues and cancer just to name a few. To my knowledge, there has never been any valid studies done to show that GM foods contain increased nutrition.
Mr. Crapo claims there are reduced pesticides and herbicides with GMOs. There has been a widespread emergence of superweeds previously not in existence which are heavily resistant to most herbicides. This becomes a widespread problem for farmers and other citizens. These are invasive and difficult to remove. Then, stronger and more toxic herbicides must be used to do the same job that less toxic products were once able to control.
The cycle continues as more and more virulent superweeds are created. This is similar to the overuse of antibiotics in farming environments which cause resistant bacteria. These plants are replacing non-resistant weeds as well as are spreading resistant genes to other plants through cross-pollination.
The safety of our food system and food recalls
To say that the U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world is to completely turn a blind eye to all the issues that are continually coming forth in media and health outlet reports. Food recalls are a normal occurrence now, and if you look on any given day you will find a large recall that has recently occurred. There are very few publicly-traded companies who have not had a product appear on recall lists. Despite the many regulations and laws in place to “protect” consumers, our food supply continues to be riddled with pathogenic bacteria & undesirable substances which are making people sick and killing them.
You would think consumers, politicians, health officials, food producers, and others would make connections between industrial farming practices and the filth found in factory and commercial farming environments. Instead, the logic is that more regulations, fees, and laws need to be imposed. This gives license to big agriculture players who are more than able to get around the confines of the law and afford fines associated with breaking the law, but the government doesn’t shut them down. Instead, they simply continue with unsafe production and “farming” practices. Many of these products have GM ingredients.
If you look at food recall lists, you won’t find truly sustainable, small-scale farmers’ and food growers’ products on them, nor even hear reports about them in the news. Although smaller and sustainable farmers tend to use use healthier practices and safe farming methods that work in harmony with nature, these individuals have been the target of government raids and shut downs, and are being rendered unable to continue producing the safe, healthy food that U.S. citizens are now demanding due to the visibility of insidious problems in the commercial food sector.
The health dangers of glyphosate and pathogenic bacteria found in GMO seeds
Glyphosate, the active ingredient used in Monsato’s flagship product RoundUp, has been found in human urine samples of city dwellers. Doesn’t this say something about just how widespread this substance has become?
The toxicity of glyphosate has been widely documented.
Here are just a few more of those documentations:
- It has been shown to be toxic to mouth cells and damage DNA
- Birth defects
- Blurred vision, skin issues, nausea, sore throat, gastrointestinal issues, and respiratory tract injuries
- Fertility issues
- More risks to human health and also the environment and crops
Dr. Donald Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, has written and spoken out about the introduction of pathogenic bacteria into our soil from foreign DNA inserted into seeds in the laboratory, and why it adversely affects not only the soil, but those consuming it, and describes how it takes up residency in our digestive tracts.
Watch Dr. Huber’s interview with Dr. Mercola:
I could give many more examples of issues with GMOs, but it is particularly noteworthy to mention that recently, genetic engineers discovered and spoke up about the health hazards of consuming these substances.
One of the report’s authors, Dr. Michael Antoniou of King’s College London School of Medicine in the UK, uses genetic engineering for medical applications but strongly cautions against its use in the development of crops for human food and animal feed:
“GM crops are promoted on the basis of ambitious claims – that they are safe to eat, environmentally beneficial, increase yields, reduce reliance on pesticides, and can help solve world hunger.”
“I felt what was needed was a collation of the evidence that addresses the technology from a scientific point of view.
“Research studies show that genetically modified crops have harmful effects on laboratory animals in feeding trials and on the environment during cultivation. They have increased the use of pesticides and have failed to increase yields. Our report concludes that there are safer and more effective alternatives to meeting the world’s food needs.”
Testing and the “safety” of GMOs
Mr. Crapo indicated that it is “important that we continue to study and monitor this new technology that has already demonstrated positive benefits.” Sure, let’s study it and prove the “positive benefits”, as long as Monsanto is paying to have those studies done (which is all that has ever been done to date), we’ll always receive the result that GMOs are safe to use.
Too bad that outcome has a strong industry bias.
He says, “we should continue to study and monitor this new technology”. The FDA has not made requirements for mandatory safety testing of GM crops, and does not even assess the safety of GM crops but only “deregulates” them, based only on assurances from biotech companies like Monsanto that they are “substantially equivalent” to their non-GM counterparts.
There is no amount of “un-biased” or third-party scientific testing or research that will ever prove to me that GMOs are a safe and effective way to produce food. Not now. Not after all the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Here is Senator Risch’s statement (another Idaho senator):
“There are federal laws already in place to make certain our food is safe. There was no need to add this amendment, and in fact, it was rejected in bipartisan fashion with 73 “no” votes when it came up for consideration.”
Here is my rebuttal to Senator Risch’s statement:
Yes, the measure failed 26-73 votes. Here’s how the voting record came out.
Too bad many of those senators receive payments from Monsanto and other seed companies. Here is a list of those receiving financial support from Monsanto.
After looking at this data, it should be pretty clear that these politicians have reasons for their voting record.
The bottom line is: there is clear evidence that GMOs are a threat to our health, environment, and future.
Big companies and government do not have our health or best interests in mind, and are motivated by profits.
This is a citizen’s call to action!
- Learn all you can about how GMOs affect us. At least 80 percent of processed foods contain them, and even some foods on the shelves that appear to be “whole foods”.
- Tell everyone you know by making this post go viral. Let your congressmen and women and local communities know you won’t stand for not knowing what’s in your food supply!
- It’s up to us, the consumers, to make our voices heard by avoiding foods with GMOs, educating ourselves and the communities around us, and to seek out healthy food from safe sources such as local farmers and farmer’s markets. Ask questions to your local farmers about how they raise their food.
- Boycott companies that sell GMO foods. Here’s a Non-GMO Shopper’s Guide from the Institute for Responsible Technology. However, please understand that big companies aren’t trustworthy and the reasons why supporting your local, sustainable farmer are really important.
Photo credit, GMO-Free Idaho