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Congress’ Big Gift to Monsanto

CERDAFIED - Monsanto, the biotech company, has continued to evade conventional law though it has faced so many lawsuits one wonders how they have time to sell their toxic weed killer and seeds.
But Monsanto has come up with their own solution and your political representative might just be the one to give them immunity from federal law, regardless of whether a federal court orders a halt in sales until an Environmental Impact Statement has been completed by the USDA.
We must convince legislators this week to strip both the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5973) and the Farmers Assurance Provision (Section 733) of dangerous riders. Chairman Rep. Kingston (R-GA),  House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, was convinced by Monsanto to attach a rider aptly name the “Monsanto Protection Act,” which if passed would give Monsanto immunity, while leaving consumers, the environment, and farmers without meaningful legal recourse.  
Monsanto lobbyists bought themselves several anti-regulatory riders that if passed will gut the USDA’s ability to regulate the use of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). The review and approval process for new GE crops would be sped up in some instances and authorize the USDA to consider exempting certain GE crops from any review at all.
The Agriculture Appropriations could become part of an Omnibus Appropriations Bill and the Farm Bill could be buried in a deficit-reduction agreement to avoid scrutiny under the pretense of avoiding their pending "fiscal cliff."
Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is currently circulating a letter to his colleagues in Congress opposing the “Monsanto Protection Act” attempting to  protect millions of health conscious Americans. 
Federal courts have recognized the threat that genetic contamination poses to "a farmer's choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops or a consumer's choice to eat non-genetically engineered food.”
House and Senate leaders are working behind closed doors until their ready to vote. Amendments won't be allowed so you must put pressure on Congress to reject Monsanto's riders now!
In GEERTSON SEED FARMS vs. MIKE JOHANNS, Sec. of the USDA, Ca., government argues that “even if the deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa could result in the elimination of all non-genetically engineered alfalfa--in other words, there would be no alfalfa grown in the United States that does not contain the engineered gene that confers tolerance to glyphosate--such a result would still not constitute a significant environmental impact because APHIS has determined that the introduction of that gene to alfalfa is harmless to humans and livestock, that is, it is not toxic or pathogenic.”
The government’s belief is irrational because the engineered gene eliminates or least greatly reduces the availability of non-engineered plants and varieties of Alfalfa. Eventually all edible plants in our entire food system will have the same fate, which has a significant effect on the human environment, consumer choice, and farmer’s choice.
Why would one company be allowed the power to genetically destroy the purity and health benefits of agriculture or control the food chain of the world? Why wouldn’t the government look at the cumulative effects of eating only  bio-engineered foods by humans and animals?  Why would farmers plant bio-engineered crops that require a greater supply of round up with each harvest, impacting their health, consumer’s health, water quality and the environment?
In a 2009 press advisory, The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM)  released its position paper on Genetically Modified foods stating that "GM foods pose a serious health risk" and calling for a moratorium on GM foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes "there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects" and that "GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health." 
AAEM's position paper on Genetically Modified foods can be found here. They call for:
● Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks. 
● Physicians to consider the possible role of GM foods in the disease processes of the patients they treat and to document any changes in patient health when changing from GM food to non-GM food.
● Our members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects, begin epidemiological research to investigate the role of GM foods on human health, and conduct safe methods of determining the effect of GM foods on human health.
● For a moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term independent safety testing, and labeling of GM foods, which is necessary for the health and safety of consumers. 
Farmers receive intimidating letters from Monsanto threatening them when cross contamination or cross pollination is suspected. The only benefactor when cross contamination occurs is Monsanto, who is suspected of spreading its toxic seeds in an attempt to corner new markets. Monsanto has filed 144 patent-infringement lawsuits against farmers and won judgments for those who made use of its seed without paying required “royalties” between 1997 and April 2010.
Earth quake stricken Haiti’s received a toxic gift from Monsanto, 475 tons of genetically modified seeds, along with the accompanying fertilizer and pesticides as earthquake relief. Again, trying to corner a new market, Monsanto is facing growing opposition from Haitian farmers and a 200,000-member national coalition who is encouraging farmers to burn Monsanto’s distributed seeds. 
They are calling on the government to reject additional shipments. Farmers wish to preserve their organic agriculture that respects the environment, and fights against its degradation. They are defending their native seeds and their rights. 
The US is the only developed nation to allow humans to consume milk from cows given Monsanto’s artificial growth hormone. It is estimated that around 1/3 of cows in the U.S. are injected with rBGH, a synthetic hormone created by using molecules and DNA sequencing that are a result of molecular cloning. 
Peer-reviewed research has identified rBGH as a risk factor for both breast and gastrointestinal cancer.  If you have consumed US dairy products, you more than likely consumed Monsanto’s genetically engineered growth hormone. 
Two key political figures, instrumental in the approval of rBGH, were actually affiliated with Monsanto. Margaret Miller, Deputy Director of Human Safety and Consultative Services, reviewed her own report on rBGH following its approval. Monsanto’s legal representative Michael R Taylor became the FDA’s deputy commissioner for policy. He wrote the FDA’s rBGH labeling guidelines claiming that there is no difference between rBGH and regular milk. This is partly why rBGH is still legal in the United States. Taylor returned to work directly for Monsanto, until Obama  made him the Food Safety Czar.
Monsanto has stacked the deck in their favor, and you’re losing the right to choose what you consume as each day passes. You are being exposed to toxins, and may be experiencing health impacts that are related to your intake. Consider writing down what you eat daily, products you consume, and talk to your doctor about your concerns.  
Ask the restaurants you frequent whether they buy GMO food products and let them know that if they do, they will lose customers. Keep fighting a good fight and keep pressure on your legislators!
More on GMOs
(Lisa Cerda is a contributor to CityWatch, a community activist, Chair of Tarzana Residents Against Poorly Planned Development, VP of Community Rights Foundation of LA, Tarzana Property Owners Association board member, and former Tarzana Neighborhood Council board member.) –cw
Vol 10 Issue 100
Pub: Dec 14, 2012

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