Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stalled Food Safety??? We shall see........

So I am in throes of dissecting the "bipartisan", same as if not worse than it ever was, Senate Bill 510. There is a lot of hoopla going on about it. The people who actually think it is somehow beneficial to give the FDA USDA, CBP and DHS more power than they already have to do the job that they aren't doing are out in force. Merler is a law firm that sues on food safety issues, and he is the biggest public proponent of this legisation. He has a post on how upsetting it is that there appear to be power structure problems with pushing this bill through, and was actually good enough to post some negative comments about the bill. You can read that on his blog, Marler and weigh in if you feel inclined.

I've been spending an awful lot of time with Morningland Dairy in their effort to try to get common sense in the regulatory approach to their recall situation. At this point, the Missouri Milk Board is "recommending" that they destroy all cheese in their cooler made through June the 25th. This is a little more than a half year of work. Morningland wants to test their uncut blocks of cheese, and the Milk Board is still taking the position that they simply should destroy all of it. Seemingly, Morningland has to get permission from the Milk Board to actually test their cheese. I find this ludicrous and nonsensical. Not a single illness or complaint about their product has been levied. I am more than certain that if Kraft has an issue, they don't close them down for a month and then ask them to destroy half a year's worth of work.

What we have in Morningland is definitely a double standard from large entities to smaller entities. They want to test the actual cheese and implement "recommended" "good manufacturing practices" and wish to test every lot of cheese for several months before they will ship it out. But they are being stopped from testing what they already have. Kooky.....IF common sense is given any thought at all, but if not, then this is all perfectly logical.

I should finish my article on 510 soon. Have a great day!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Last Show on Liberty News Radio-9-18-10

Yes, it is going to be my last show on Liberty News Radio tomorrow morning. I will have a guest on with me who is very studied on the One World One Health Initiative that is already being legitimized in law in the United States, and it will NOT be better for your freedom, your health, your pocketbook or your choices. It's an all around bad deal that you will want to understand the terminology linked to it, as well as the scope and method of implementation.

My guest has put together a wonderful document to help you learn this program and while I cannot post the entire thing here (lack of time and my general ineptitude with -blogger-) I've put a snippet below and you can email me at animalwaitress@yahoo.com with the heading "OWOH Paper" and I will be happy to send it to you. I encourage everyone to download an archive of this program from the show archives section of Liberty News Radio.

As I said in the "Something's Happening Here" post below, I will be doing a lot of radio still, just giving up my own show, so look for me on Derry Brownfield, The Power Hour and the Liberty Roundtable on a regular basis.

Be Blessed, everyone!


Here is a taste of the document for tomorrow's show:

Truth Farmer Listeners

The One Health Cash Cow

From a Texas A & M: Mass Animal Carcass Management Powerpoint

The Global Cash Cow is strategically placed in many government and higher education powerpoints

There is a United Nations code that few people are aware of. They are the Terrestrial
Animal Health Code, Terrestrial Manual of Diagnostics & Vaccinations, and Terrestrial Aquatic Code combined are that is the equivalent of 9 reams of copy paper!

➢ This code was established because the US is a UN Member Signatory
➢ This code was not brought to you or you public officials for a vote
➢ This code when fully implemented will regulate every facet of your life
➢ This code defines you as an animal and you will be treated as the global herd

Under the Terrestrial Animal Health Code you are defined as an animal.

An animal means a mammal, bird or bee (1)

Don’t think so?

From the Summer Edition of the One World, One Health Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 3

Highlights: “My Future Veterinary Career in Human Health.”


Monday, September 13, 2010

More Insanity!!!

County Sues Farmer, Cites Too Many Crops


Posted: 5:20 pm EDT September 12, 2010Updated: 10:00 am EDT September 13, 2010
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- DeKalb County is suing a local farmer for growing too many vegetables, but he said he will fight the charges in the ongoing battle neighbors call “Cabbagegate.”

Fig trees, broccoli and cabbages are among the many greens that line the soil on Steve Miller’s more than two acres in Clarkston, who said he has spent fifteen years growing crops to give away and sell at local farmers markets.

“It's a way of life, like it's something in my blood,” said Miller.

In January, Dekalb County code enforcement officers began ticketing him for growing too many crops for the zoning and having unpermitted employees on site.

Miller stopped growing vegetables this summer and the charges were put on hold as he got the property rezoned.

WATCH: Farmer Sued For Excessive Veggies

Two weeks after approval, however, his attorney said the county began prosecuting the old charges, saying he was technically in violation before the rezoning.

“It should go away. I think it borders on harassment,” said Miller’s attorney Doug Dillard.

Miller faces nearly $5,000 in fines, but he said he plans to fight those citations in recorders court later this month.

A county spokesperson said officials can’t discuss the matter while it is in court, but neighbors were quick to come to his defense.

“When he moved here and I found out what he was doing I said, ‘Steve, you’re the best thing that ever happened to Cimarron Drive. And I still say that,” said neighbor Britt Fayssoux.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Something Happening Here.....

And what it is, is pretty durn clear. If you'll read the posts below, you will see a concerted effort to shut down raw dairy distribution of any variety. And if you'll go to News With Views, and read the articles, you will get all the click through links to the documents substantiating my claim.

The past month has been very, very busy here. Not with things I really -want- to do, but with a lot of fighting for facts and answers from the actions against farmers and food clubs across this country.

As most of you know, I have a radio show on Liberty News Radio every Saturday from 10-11am Central time. September 18th is going to be the last show for Truth Farmer on Liberty News Radio. It's going to be one of the deep educational type shows on One World One Health, which is a trademark of the World Conservation Society, and a full fusion global initiative to form and transform all areas of health. And I mean all. It is the interface for human, animal and environmental health. I will have a guest on who is very adept at finding the 'processes' that governments use to push these global initiatives without any actual legislative authority. It will be a show that you will want to download and listen to more than once or twice so you get the full effect and procedures of this global initiative that will be de facto law in the not too distant future.

The reason(s) I am giving the show up are that I am simply needed more at home, and I usually spend 8-10 hours on prep for the show, so that time will now go to my children and their schooling. I might even try to make cookies for them twice a month! For five years I have been more than a full time unpaid ag-tivist, and I often wonder exactly how that feels for the children. I've spoken with the sixteen year old in depth about it, and she tells me "I know it's necessary, but it is really kinda weird." The 18 year old is more pragmatic, "If you got paid it would make more sense, but I guess someone has to do it, and you seem to be good at it...You know we're proud of you, right?" And the little one just wants cookies and more play time.

So what I am definitely going to do is be a regular guest on at least three radio shows that have much larger audiences than I could ever get doing a one hour a week show on the weekend. This will reach more people with this important information and allow me to use my time more efficiently. For the past three months I have been doing a regular once a month slot on The Power Hour every second Monday at 9am Central time. Beginning next month, I will be on Sam Bushman's Liberty Round Table at 8am Central every first Monday of the month. I am also a regular on the Derry Brownfield Show, and I think we're going to firm up a schedule on that soon, but that show is M-F at 10am Central.

Also, I will (Yah willing and the crick don't rise) be writing more regularly for News With Views and continuing to participate on R-CALF USA's Animal Id Committee, and will work with The Ozarks PRC and continue my work with the National Independent Consumer and Farmers Association as the Director of Research.

So I will still have plenty of volunteer work. If anyone wants to donate to my efforts, please send me an e-mail (animalwaitress@yahoo.com). Every little bit helps, and prayer is greatly appreciated as well!

Farming Without a License is a Criminal Enterprise

©Doreen Hannes
Throughout this nation it is becoming commonplace for state and federal governments to raid food buying clubs, private food co-ops, family farms and even micro farms. The reason these raids are taking place is that the FDA has determined that we are not smart enough to decide what we want to eat. They are making sure that we have a hard time getting food that is actually good for us and fulfilling their public health mission. This is the first in a three article series profiling two cases in the state of Missouri to illustrate what will be terrifically commonplace once Senate Bill 510, (The Food Safety Modernization Act-third article) is in place.
In Missouri we have families, and a food freedom movement, that are being persecuted, and I use that term intentionally, with accusation aforethought. The first family I am going to profile is the Bechard’s of Conway, Missouri. They are facing prosecution by Attorney General Koster for violating the following State statute and were also taken to court -and convicted- by Green County Health Department for “operating a food establishment without a permit”. Basically, they are being taken to court for trying to make a living from their lawful product. Their crime? Providing people with fresh milk that tested out to be perfectly fine and had no complaints or reports of illness associated with it at all.
The Bechard’s have a small farm, where they raise sheep, poultry and cattle and sell their products directly to consumers. They milk six cows and are not a “graded” facility. They deliver milk to their customers at a pre-arranged pick up point in the parking lot of Mama Jeans Natural Foods in Springfield, Missouri. In April of 2009, their eldest daughters were delivering the milk and were approached by someone wanting to buy a half-gallon of milk. Since they had it, they sold it to the man. Two weeks later, the same thing occurred. These two on the spot sales were to employees of the Green County Health Department.
The Health Department tested the milk. What they found was that there was no problem with the milk at all. The first half-gallon was kept overnight possibly on a kitchen counter and did have a high somatic cell count. The second batch was taken to the lab within an hour and had a very low somatic cell count attesting to the Bechard’s cleanliness. These two sales landed the Bechard’s in court.
Let’s look at the state charge first. Here is the pertinent Missouri law on milk :

State milk inspection required on all graded fluid milk or milk products--pasteurization required, exception.
196.935. No person shall sell, offer for sale, expose for sale, transport, or deliver any graded fluid milk or graded fluid milk products in this state unless the milk or milk products are graded and produced, transported, processed, manufactured, distributed, labeled and sold under state milk inspection and the same has also been produced or pasteurized as required by a regulation authorized by section 196.939 and under proper permits issued thereunder. Only pasteurized graded fluid milk and fluid milk products as defined in subdivision (3) of section 196.931 shall be sold to the final consumer, or to restaurants, soda fountains, grocery stores, or similar establishments; except an individual may purchase and have delivered to him for his own use raw milk or cream from a farm.

Evidently, Missouri Attorney General Koster doesn’t understand either the term “graded” or the meaning of the word “except”, and is opting for redefining that word by putting a family’s livelihood on the line and moving forward with prosecution of Armand Bechard for selling his milk to individuals who want the product. Koster’s argument for pursuing a case against the Bechard’s is that he has gone back and read through the floor arguments from 1972 when the law was enacted in Missouri and believes that the legislators didn’t mean what they actually wrote into law. Koster has also consulted with the bureaucracy that is “in charge” of milk in Missouri, “The Milk Board”. Incidentally, the new chair of the Milk Board is also on the Green County Health Department and is driving the charges against the Bechard’s.
For years, the Milk Board has periodically threatened providers of fresh milk with fines and penalties if they continue to sell their product. Usually, the threats come after the Milk Board has made telephone calls to providers of milk listed on a Weston A. Price website called Real Milk. We are listed on that site, and from three weeks to two months prior to actions from the Milk Board instructing people to “cease and desist” or be fined for selling milk, we receive calls for milk from several hours away asking if we have milk for sale; and then I know something is about to happen. This is exactly what happened before the “sting” on the Bechard family occurred.
In the two most recent state legislative sessions there has been a bill put forth to clarify that it is lawful for people to sell their milk to individuals for their own use. Both times, the Milk Board maintained that it wasn’t necessary and once they even wrote a letter for dissemination clarifying that it was indeed legal to sell milk from a farm directly to an individual.
Attorney General Koster asked the Bechard’s to sign a consent decree that states they will never deliver milk at a common pick up point again and instead will take all milk directly to the residence of the people wanting the milk. It also stipulates that the Bechard’s are guilty of violating state law and amounts to a confession of guilt.
Not too surprisingly, this wasn’t an appealing way to resolve the issue for the Bechard’s. We are talking about a product that is not stable in all temperatures and that needs to stay cool so it doesn’t go bad and breed bacteria. If they were to drop off product at residences, there is no telling how long the product could be without refrigeration. People do still work, and most families have both the husband and wife working, so the chances of meeting people at their homes when delivery is possible for all parties is small. The Bechard’s, like anyone in business, are interested in keeping their customers happy, so increasing the chances of sour milk on the doorstep isn’t an idea they want to entertain.

This case will begin in earnest this fall, and the availability of fresh milk in Missouri is dependent on the outcome of this State case against the Bechard’s.
Armand Bechard says, “In 2003 we called and asked the Health Department if we needed to do anything special to sell our milk and they told us that in our situation, according to the law, we were a farm and therefore exempt; we needed no permits at all. That’s what the code in Green County actually states, and we have been selling milk since then in this manner.” Asked if there had been any changes to the municipal code and Armand asserts that there are no changes regarding farm products. The only thing offered in explanation of the suit against them was that the Health Department had adopted the 1999 FDA Food Code. So, evidently, if someone from the Health Department says you need a permit, then you need a permit; even if state and county law don’t require it. Never mind what the law actually says, we’re now being run by the whimsy of agents running off initiatives of Federal bureaucracies. It’s not too comforting for those of us who tend to think unregulated thoughts.
Common sense would dictate that the Bechard case should be a non-issue. No reports of illnesses and no complaints whatsoever about the product, no clear violation of the law, should be no problem, right? But we can’t apply logic to the legal system. The judge found Armand Bechard guilty of violating the Green County Health Department’s adoption of the 1999 FDA Food Code by “operating a food establishment without a permit”. The family pick up truck used to deliver milk is the “establishment”. The County was asking for $1,000 fine and 6 months in jail for selling an unregulated product that caused no harm to any one. The sentence rendered was a $250 fine. Bechard is appealing and has been awarded a new trial.
So the question becomes, what is the Food Code? It is currently a nearly 700 page document for cities, counties, states and local governments to write regulations for their citizens. The initiatives in the Food Code are not necessarily Federal law, they are generally desires of the FDA and are more in line with the international Food Code of Codex Alimentarius than actual regulations or statutes from the Federal government. Wholesale adoption of the Food Code is a dangerous thing for freedom, yet nearly all states have adopted some version as part of their Health Department program. Cooperative Agreements between state and local governments to implement the Food Code are usually accompanied by a big sweaty pile of your money. One of these initiatives included in the Food Code is Healthy People 2020. This is a program through HHS that is supposed to make us all quite healthy. One objective of Healthy People 2020 is to increase the number of states that prohibit the sale or distribution of unpasteurized dairy products.
Missouri is a state with a very obstinate strain of people, especially in the Ozarks region of the state where the Bechard’s and Morningland Dairy (the other issue I am profiling for you in this series) are located. The Missouri Mule is famous because it adequately displays the characteristics of the citizens of the state. As a general rule, we won’t be pushed or coerced into doing something we don’t want to do. I personally find it a little more than interesting that the MIAC Report, targeting close to 70% of the citizens of the state and these recent attacks on raw dairy are happening here, where resistance is great.
If Missouri falls to full implementation of the Food Code and Healthy People 2020 the rest of the states will likely be little competition for the overreaching federal government controls brought to full enforcement by the Food Safety Modernization Act (S510). Meanwhile, we continue to fight for the right to eat what we choose, and the Bechard family faces increasing court costs. The bottom line of all of this is that if you are at all interested in agriculture, meaning you have an interest in continuing to eat food, you must become an ‘agtivist’. No Farmers-No Food.

Milk….It’s a Menace!!!

©Doreen Hannes 2010

This is the second of three articles to demonstrate the effects that Senate Bill S510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, will have on all of us. The third article in this series will be devoted to Senate bill S 510. As you read this article, it’s important to keep in mind that while the US Congress was on August recess, Senate bill S510, that will completely control the production of food, was resubmitted as a bipartisan complete substitute for the original.
On June 30th of this year, a private food co-op named Rawesome, founded by a rather iconoclastic individual by the name of Aajonus (pronounced odd-genus) Vonderplanitz was raided in Venice, California. The co-op’s members prefer to eat all raw food and have many personal testimonies of the benefits they have received from following the paleo-diet and eating all things raw. The raid involved multiple agencies - the FBI, FDA, California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Health Department among them. The agents entered with drawn guns and seized all products from the private food club. Among the products seized was raw cheese from the licensed and inspected Morningland Dairy in Mountain View, Missouri.
Morningland Dairy is a small raw cheese company that has been in business for 30 years with no reports of illness from their products ever being levied. They milk cows on site and use that milk to make their cheese in a separate building. Denise and Joe Dixon took over operation of Morningland Dairy several years ago and expanded the operation to include goat cheese made from Missouri family-run goat dairies. The cheese is sold directly to consumers and to grocery stores across the nation. According to Joe, nine families are dependent upon Morningland for their livelihood.
On August 24th, fifty-five days after the cheese from Morningland Dairy was seized by agents at Rawesome, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) tested the cheese and reported that they “detected” listeria monocytogenes and staph aureous in two cheeses. The CDFA then reported this “detection” to the Missouri Milk Board and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On August 26th, the Missouri Milk Board contacted the cheesemaker from Morningland Dairy, Jedadiah York, and told him they were coming by to discuss a problem with some cheese. Denise and Joe Dixon were at the American Cheese Society convention in Seattle when this call occurred. Jedadiah called them and told them that Milk Board Inspectors, Don Falls and Roger Neill, were coming to the plant to talk about a problem and the Dixons said to fully cooperate and find out what the problem might be. And that’s when things began to get interesting.
The Missouri Milk Board Inspectors had no batch numbers or paperwork to show to Mr. York, but they pulled up the report from CDFA on Morningland’s computer and show Jedadiah the picture of cheese that was definitely under a Morningland label. However, the codes, which would tell the Plant Manager the dates of the batches, were not visible in the photos nor recorded on the CDFA report. Details were completely lacking. No levels regarding the amount of bacteria detected in the cheese were indicated on the CDFA report, no chain of custody regarding the product, no explanation of sample temperature controls or the lack of such were delineated, and no reports or complaints of illness had been made. Mr. Falls of the Missouri Milk Board told Jedadiah they would be back in the morning and that he expected to have this all taken care of very soon. The inspectors checked into a hotel and came back the next morning.
When the inspectors returned, Jedadiah was told that the FDA would be coming and heading up the investigation and that Morningland would need to suspend all operations until the investigation was complete. Their cheese was put under embargo by Missouri Milk Board and immediately inventoried, and an official notice taped to the cooler door to not remove any product. Jedadiah thought that if he simply went along and did all things the agents asked, that Morningland would be up and running again in a matter of days. This was on August 27th, and two weeks later he sees things a bit differently.
On the 27th, Michele Thompson, the Recall Coordinator for the FDA, sent Jedadiah an email asking that a recall notice of all product from 2010 be sent to the Associated Press immediately. The Dixons, General Managers for Morningland LLC, told Jedadiah to just wait until they returned from the American Cheese Society convention they had attended so they could get a better understanding of the situation by being there in person. Again, no illnesses or complaints had been reported from any consumers of Morningland’s products, and it is a very serious action to recall half a year of work based on the findings of an agency with no detailed information on the tests performed.
Nonetheless, over the weekend the FDA prepared and released a press release stating that Morningland Dairy was –voluntarily- recalling ALL of their product made from January through June 2010 nationwide, even though Morningland had not authorized the recall. This release went out at 12:01am Monday morning before the FDA showed up at Morningland in camoflauge to inspect the cheese plant. At that point, there had been no communication to the heads of Morningland regarding the lot numbers that were tested in California and no agreement to recall a half year’s work on an unsubstantiated test. The FDA’s Michele Thompson later communicated to Morningland that the FDA did not have the authority to “push for a recall” as that was against the law. She requested Morningland change commentary on their website to be in line with FDA policy. The fact remains that the FDA issued a press release announcing a recall prior to Morningland approving a recall. In other words, Morningland hadn’t volunteered to be bankrupted, yet the FDA issued a national notice stating that they had.
Joseph and Denise Dixon are committed to making a safe product. Joe says, “If we have a problem, we definitely want to deal with it, and we are willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we provide our customers with a trustworthy and healthy product. We do all the tests that we are required to do and are committed to our customers well being. We want to provide living, healthful food that blesses people.”
Back to the ‘facts of the case’, as it were. As mentioned before, Morningland has dairy cattle on the same property as the cheese plant, and they use that milk to make their cow cheese. When the issue of potential contamination first reared it’s ugly head, the Missouri Milk Board Field Inspector, Don Falls, told the Dixons that they would be able to sell their cow milk into the normal commercial (pasteurized) chain without much difficulty. They would simply need to find a co-op that would put them on their route and get their barn inspected and graded by the Milk Board as a Grade A dairy barn. As it turns out, that wasn’t quite accurate.
The Dixons found two milk co-ops that would pick up their milk as soon as they were graded and inspected by the Milk Board. Then the Milk Board told them that until the FDA “cleared” Morningland, they wouldn’t inspect their dairy barn. So the Dixons are left dumping their milk, unable to bring in any compensation for their labor, and still required to labor. The milk dumping might end up bringing in the EPA as they have recently declared that milk is oil because of it’s fat content.
Thus far, I’ve visited Morningland four times since the embargo on the cheese and the recall notice. My main objective is to determine the definitive procedures and timelines, with a clear chain of command, from the agencies involved, that are necessary to clear Morningland for production. The clarification of this process would ensure agency accountability and delineate a specific course of action for Morningland to follow that would give them a reasonable expectation of being allowed to get back into production and distribution of their product. It seems I would have better luck nailing fresh Jell-o securely to the wall.
The FDA and the Missouri Milk Board are playing hot potato with explaining the process. The FDA says that the Milk Board and state of Missouri are responsible for the decision that will allow Morningland to return to shipping in interstate commerce, yet the only reason for the FDA’s presence is interstate commerce. The Milk Board says that the decision must be made by committee including the inspector, his supervisor, the State Veterinarian, two microbiologists from Jefferson City, and the FDA. All discussion of procedure is couched by terms like “normally”, “usually”, “I think”, “we’ll have to see” and “probably”. The process of being cleared is as clear as mud.
So right now, the FDA is awaiting results from the swab tests they did of the cheese plant and the legs of the milk bulk tank in the dairy barn last week. When those results are in, recommendations for clean up of the environment (if necessary) will be made, and then, should the Dixons want to test the 40# blocks of cheese in their cooler, they can. However, the Milk Board says that “due to statistical probability” if Morningland tests their cheese inventory and the tests come back showing clean product, those tests are not considered official. So there is no guarantee that Morningland will be able to ship the cheese at all. It depends on whether or not “the committee” and the FDA agree that the product is ‘safe for human consumption’. The products produced by Morningland are all ‘suspect’ for adulteration by FDA definition. FDA’s definition is so broad that according to information on the FDA’s own website, all food could be considered adulterated. [Look under Legal Aspects at the previous link (4) and you will find this: “Hence, to be adulterated, food need not be shown actually to contain filth or other contaminants; a demonstration that the food was prepared, packed, or held under conditions whereby it would, with reasonable possibility emphasis added, become so is legally sufficient to prove adulteration and provide grounds for taking action against the lot”].
When one considers the FDA’s documented opposition to raw dairy, and this most sensational germophobic testimony of John Sheehan (head of the Plant and Dairy division of the FDA that oversees cheese plants like Morningland) and then the cooperative agreements, the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU’s), the guidance documents between state and federal agencies along with the federal Food Code and the initiatives outlined therein, the likelihood of Morningland being declared “clear” and moving forward without continued harassment is slim.
Remember that there is an inspection process that is ongoing in both the milk barn and the cheese plant on Morningland’s property. The milk barn must be inspected, and the cheese plant must be inspected. In my experience, if an inspector wants to find a problem, he most certainly will. The number of flaming hoops that Morningland must jump through to be re-approved for full operation are currently indefinite and could be nearly infinite.
Stepping back from the particulars surrounding the Morningland Dairy, and another Missouri fresh milk dairy under prosecution, we must look at the agency objectives revealed in their Food Code, their Motion to Dismiss response in a raw milk suit brought against them, their Healthy People 2020 program, and the international standards and guidelines of the World Animal Health Organization (OIE), Codex Alimentarius and International Plant Protection Convention(OIE) that are embedded in Senate Bill 510 to ascertain what kind of regulations S510 will allow the FDA to write to ”protect” the food supply. Senate Bill 510 will expand the authority of the FDA beyond any common sense; and I believe they’ve already illustrated they lack common sense.
What we have here is the continued destruction of food freedom, food choice and food availability. The federal government does not believe that people are capable of deciding what to eat themselves and have “erected a multitude of New Offices and sent forth swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance”. Literally. That citation from the Declaration of Independence couldn’t possibly have been more true at any time in history than it is today. Remember, no farmers, no food.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

GMO's and Effects

The following article can be found here

I think this is an excellent piece for getting info into people's hands that are not generally too concerned about ag or food in general. The issue is terrifically important as things continue to head to further consolidation and destruction of truly healthful food.

More on that later!

India Monsanto farmer in a fieldIndia is in the midst of a flood of suicides among farmers. A new feature film written and directed by Anusha Rizwi and produced by Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan, called Peepli Live, takes a look at this grim topic.

The vast majority of people in India still farm for a living, but are caught between deep debt and the erratic nature of seasonal change.

Indian farmers are pressured into mortgaging their farms to purchase genetically modified seeds, pesticides, and fertilizer from American companies like Monsanto.

According to AlterNet:

“Since GM seeds are patented by Monsanto, their repeated use each year requires constant licensing fees that keep farmers impoverished. One bad yield due to drought or other reasons, plunges farmers so deep into debt that they resort to suicide. One study estimates that 150,000 farmers have killed themselves in the past ten years.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S., District Judge Jeffrey White, a federal judge in California, has banned the planting of genetically modified Roundup Ready sugar beets created by Monsanto. The beets are engineered to withstand Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

White said he was “troubled by maintaining the status quo that consists of 95 percent of sugar beets being genetically engineered while [the USDA] conducts the environmental review that should have occurred before the sugar beets were deregulated.”

The ban does not affect crops already planted and harvested for sugar.

The St. Louis Business Journal reports:

“Environmental groups ... filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in January 2008 to challenge the deregulation of Roundup Ready sugar beets by the USDA ... Opponents say the beets promote superweeds, weeds that cannot easily be killed because they have developed a tolerance to weed killer. They also raise concerns about the contamination of conventional and organic crops.”

AlterNet August 16, 2010
St. Louis Business Journal August 16, 2010

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

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I believe genetically modified plants and foods are one of the most significant threats against humanity and life on this planet, for a number of reasons.

Biotechnology has changed the face of farming as we know it, and with each passing year, we move further away from the ancient farming practice of saving the best seeds for replanting the following season – a method that is both inexpensive and proven successful for optimal crop quality.

Now, the increased use of genetically modified seeds that must be purchased anew each year are starting to take its toll. A mere 15 years into commercial GM seed use, we’re now seeing GM crops contaminating conventional and organic crops; different GM varieties combining with each other in the wild, creating unintended GM hybrids; and farmers driven to desperate acts due to financial devastation.

Genetic Engineering May Sterilize Nature. Then What?

Consider this: Monsanto’s “suicide gene” has not only been inserted into certain food crops, rendering them sterile in order to force farmers to buy new seeds. This technology is now spreading to other industries, such as forestry.

Scientific American reported on this in January. Two paper industry giants are planning to replace the native pine in the forests of southwestern US with genetically engineered, sterile, eucalyptus. By making the trees unable to reproduce naturally, they propose there’s no need to worry about the GM eucalyptus turning into an invasive species…


Earlier this week I wrote about two GM varieties of canola spreading into the wild, and cross-breeding with each other, creating a third hybrid that is resistant to not one but two herbicides. Science has already discovered that the genome is more “intelligent” than previously thought, and by planting non-native trees that have been gene spliced to reduce proliferation does NOT make me rest easy.

On the contrary. I believe there are plenty of indications that the introduction of sterile plants of various kinds may allow this genetic ability to “turn off” reproductive capability to spread into other parts of nature, in ways that none of us can predict.

For an eye opening look at the genetic engineering now overtaking the forestry industry, I highly recommend watching the documentary film “A Silent Forest,” available in full on MEFEEDiA.com.

How are GM Crops Provoking Farmers to Commit Suicide?

According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, more than 182,900 Indian farmers took their own lives between 1997 and 2007. It estimates 46 Indian farmers commit suicide every day. That equates to roughly one suicide every 30 minutes!

Some will argue that natural events are to blame, such as lack of rain, but crop failures have occurred before, and it didn’t push thousands of farmers to end their lives by drinking pesticide.

No, the increased desperation can be traced directly back to the use of patented, and therefore expensive, seeds, and the unconscionable tactics of Monsanto.

Monsanto has been ruthless in their drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops. Over the past decade, millions of Indian farmers have been promised radically increased harvests and income if they switch from their traditional age tested farming methods to genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton seeds.

So, they borrow money to buy GM seeds, which need certain pesticides that were previously unnecessary, which requires even more money. When rain fall is sparse, the GM crops actually fare far worse than traditional crops – a fact that these farmers oftentimes don’t learn until it’s too late and they’re standing there with failed crops, spiraling debts, and no income.

And by next season, they have to do it all over again because the GM seeds cannot be saved and replanted. They must be purchased again.

In addition, GM crops have spawned:

* Bt resistant pests
* New pests
* Superweeds

For example, the evolution of Bt resistant bollworms worldwide have now been confirmed and documented, and what used to be minor pests are now becoming major problems – such as mirid bugs, which have increased 12-fold since 1997 in China, and can be directly linked to the scale of China’s Bt cotton cultivation.

In addition, the promise that GM crops would reduce pesticide/herbicide use has turned out to be entirely false.

The use of Roundup herbicide has increased dramatically since the GM Roundup Ready crops were introduced. In the first 13 years, American farmers sprayed an additional 383 million pounds of herbicide due to these herbicide-tolerant crops. And now the repeated exposures have given Mother Nature all she needs to stage her comeback in the form of devastating superweeds.

Since 1996, when GM crops were first introduced, at least nine species of U.S. weeds have developed resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, which means farmers must use additional herbicides, some of them even more toxic than Roundup.

In the end, we’re left with all of the downsides and none of the intended benefits.

Bollywood Brings Indian Farmers’ Plight to the Big Screen

AlterNet.com reports on a new Indian film called Peepli Live that grapples with this topic:

“The story is set in an Indian village named Peepli where one young debt-burdened farmer named Natha is talked into taking his own life after he learns that his family will be financially compensated through a government program created to alleviate the loss of farmers taking their own lives.”

The film features Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan. An interview with him about the film and the plight of Indian farmers can be found here.

Hopefully this film is successful in raising awareness about the destructive power of this technology.

US Judge Halts Deregulation of Roundup Ready Sugar Beets – For Now…

Meanwhile, the US has been granted a temporary reprieve from yet another GM food.

The U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, a federal judge in California, recently banned the planting of Monsanto’s GM Roundup-resistant sugar beets. The ruling, which can be read here, does not affect any crop that has already been planted or harvested, however, so GM sugar will still reach the market place.

The GM sugar beet is called Genuity, and was introduced during the 2008-2009 season.

Although considered a victory, the judge’s ruling did not grant plaintiffs’ motion for a permanent injunction against GM sugar beet plantings.

The St Louis Business Journal recently reported:

“White ruled in September 2009 that the USDA will have to complete an Environmental Impact Statement for the sugar beets. The USDA has estimated that an EIS may be ready by 2012.

Monsanto has said in court papers that revoking regulators' approval of sugar beets would cost the biotech giant and its customers approximately $2 billion in 2011 and 2012.”

Roundup Residue Causes Cell Damage

The increasing use of Roundup on crops engineered to survive being doused in the herbicide has its own set of health consequences.

Residues of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide found in GM food and feed has been linked to cell damage and even death, even at very low levels. Researchers have also found it causes membrane and DNA damage, and inhibits cell respiration.

So not only are you exposed to foods that contain built-in toxins, you’re also consuming larger amounts of toxic residues on the food, for the simple fact that more is now being used.

Pesticide and herbicide residues are very difficult to remove from grains, fruits and vegetables. Even meticulous washing cannot get rid of it all.

What Can You Do to Affect Change?

Did you know that genetically modified foods are so prevalent in the US that if you randomly pick an item off your grocery store's shelves, you have a 75 percent chance of picking a food with GM ingredients?

It’s true. At least seven out of every 10 food items have been genetically modified, and there’s more to come.

The potential health ramifications of these world-wide experiments with our food supply are frightening to say the least. If you care about the health and future of your family, I strongly urge you to refuse to participate in this destructive trend.


It’s actually simpler than you might think... By buying only non-GM foods.

Must-Have Guide to NON-GMO Foods

The True Food Shopping Guide is a great tool for helping you determine which brands and products contain GM ingredients. It lists 20 different food categories that include everything from baby food to chocolate.

Additionally, here are four simple steps to decrease your consumption of GM foods as much as possible:

* Reduce or eliminate processed foods in your diet. The fact that 75 percent of processed foods contain GM ingredients is only one of the many reasons to stick to a whole foods diet.
* Read produce and food labels. Conventionally raised soybeans and corn make up the largest portion of genetically modified crops. Ingredients made from these foods include high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn flour and meal, dextrin, starch, soy sauce, margarine, and tofu.
* Buy organic produce. By definition, food that is certified organic must be free from all GM organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef will not have been fed GM corn feed.