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The USDA Paves Way For GM Takeover
link to orgicnal articles
The USDA Paves Way For GM Takeover (Part I) | Health Freedom Alliance
was looking for judith mcgeary more recent article on this same subject but this will do
In the wake of the USDA’s deregulation of GM Alfalfa in January came the approval of two more bioengineered crops in February; Ethanol Corn and Sugar Beets. The news is a great disappointment to those who have been fighting against the GMO takeover for years and to consumers who are, more than ever, mindful of their food’s origin. Wherever the GM crops are planted the soil will be pummeled with chemicals. Bioengineered food continues to penetrate the food supply of the country, furthering a decline in health.
The USDA’s approval of the crops flies in the face of research showing inferior crop yields and providing evidence of harm to humans and the environment. They have taken no real measures to protect against cross-pollination in spite of the evidential ruin of most corn and soy crops. They have ignored consumers’ and more importantly farmers’ concerns and dismissed opposition from health and environmental organizations. Now it is the consumers and farmers that will pay the price: haven’t they lost enough of their health and land all ready?
In 2009, approximately 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn in the U.S. were grown from genetically engineered seeds. Monsanto dominates the production of GM strains, especially in these two of our largest commodities. Rest assured, such control was not by accident. Evidence of underhanded deals to buyers to cut out the competition, display the corporation mega-giant’s push for a monopoly. They are also known for going after farms not using their seed by sending out “investigators” to test for Monsanto’s patented strains. If one is found, that farmer will face action from Monsanto, even if the seeds or pollination was carried out by nature.
Last year at least a dozen state attorney generals and the Department of Justice launched investigations on Monsanto regarding antitrust violations. Still, the government gives this company the green light to have more control over the food supply and prices when they approve more GM crops.
There Is An Obvious Conflict Of Interest In These Approvals
Keith Mudd, President of the Organization for Competitive Markets issued a supportive statement of the attorney generals’ investigations of Monsanto. Here are some highlights from the release:
“We believe the company uses transgenic trait licensing agreements with independent seed companies as a tool to put smaller seed companies at a competitive disadvantage,While the first lady broke ground on the White House lawn in 2009 to make way for an heirloom vegetable and fruit garden to feed her family and to show children the importance of eating local organic foods, it seems the President and his administration are bent on destroying such opportunities for the rest of America.
Monsanto tells you that GM seeds are the key to feeding the continual population boom. Government plays right along, paving the way for the company to continue decimating the health, rural farming communities, bio-diversity and the very ability for the Earth to sustain life, as the thin layer of topsoil that nourishes us is destroyed. This is no way to sustain life and its failure is already evident.
The Worldwatch Institute’s “2011 State of the World” report identifies small-scale farming as the answer to world hunger, not factory farms.
Perhaps the USDA ought to look back to their old slogans of preservation and sustainability. (c. 1917)
The context, and the basis of Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet project, was this:
Agriculture has come to a crossroads. Nearly a half-century after the Green Revolution, a major share of the human family is still chronically hungry. In addition, much of that revolution’s gains have been achieved through highly intensive agriculture that depends heavily on fossil fuels for inputs and energy—and the question of whether the world’s croplands can yield more food is being trumped by the question of whether they can do so without compromise to the soils, fresh water, and crop diversity the world depends on.The ruse that genetically modified crops are intended for feeding the hungry is easy to see through when the USDA-approved crops are not even geared towards nutrition.
GM Alfalfa will be feeding cows, not people – the amount of land and energy it takes to raise animals for food is incredibly inefficient and more people will go hungry so that others can continue their pursuit of gluttony. Feeding animals for food consumes huge amounts of energy and water. It takes two to five times more water to grow grain for an animal then for a human. During global food shortages, while 800 million people a day are living their lives hungry, the majority of crop-producing energies goes to this inefficient practice.
How about the sugar beets? District Court Judge Jeffrey White banned the planting and sales of Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” biotech sugar beets last year in August after determining that their USDA approval in 2005 was illegal. The government never conducted a thorough environmental review before approving the crop. Shortly after White’s ruling, though, the USDA issued permits allowing companies to plant seedlings for future GM sugar beet crops. Earthjustice, a consumer group, brought a case against the USDA and asked the judge to order the plants be destroyed, Judge White ordered that the seedlings “shall be removed from the ground.” ; the action was the first court-ordered destruction of a GM crop.
The ban on planting the Monsanto beets has since been revoked and planting will begin this spring. This puts non-GM crops in jeopardy, all just to feed an unhealthy demand for sugar!
And of course there’s ethanol corn. Obviously a crop that is not being grown for human consumption, this approval masquerades as a balance to the corn shortage caused by it’s use to create fuel. The folly is that ethanol has become an incredibly inefficient fuel that uses more energy to create than it actually produces. A study by ES&T researchers at Michigan State University found that, “It’s 36% more efficient to grow grain for food than for fuel…” Author Ilya Gelfand goes on to say “We found that it’s not energy-efficient to produce ethanol from grain crops that can serve as food,” and that “It’s more efficient to produce ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks such as grasses.” Funny enough, the report also found that the most efficient crop for biofuels was alfalfa and the least efficient alfalfa use was for cattle feed.  The irony is staggering!
All of this incredible inefficiency and irresponsibility is a showcase of everything that is wrong in our government.
Barack Obama, despite promising us “change we can believe in,” packed the USDA and other governmental branches with Monsanto men and biotech cheerleaders such as former Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack. Named “Biotech Governor of the Year” in 2001 and notorious for flying around in a Monsanto company jet during one of his previous election campaigns,Vilsack now serves as USDA Secretary. Red flags anyone? Michael R. Taylor’s appointment by the Obama administration to the Food and Drug Administration in 2009 generated outrage among many food and agriculture researchers, national health and environmental groups, and activists. From 1998 until 2001 Taylor served as the Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto Corp. These are clear examples of the revolving door between major corporations and the government.
And from the Alliance for Natural Health, ”In an article at TruthOut, reporter Mike Ludwig noted that House Committee on Agriculture members pressed Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to fully deregulate Roundup Ready alfalfa and reject the proposal to geographically isolate it from traditional alfalfa. Upon learning that the USDA had fully deregulated the genetically engineered grain, committee chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) said, ‘I am pleased that USDA used sound science and respected the limit of its statutory authority to make this decision.’”
“Monsanto was one of the top contributors to Lucas’s campaign committee in 2010. A political action committee and individuals associated with Monsanto donated $11,000 to his campaign last year, and Lucas has received $1,247,844 from the agribusiness industry during his political career, according to watchdog site OpenSecrets.org. Lucas was elected chairman of the Agriculture Committee in December.”
These approvals aren’t about anything but control and profit and are being carried out quite deliberately.
Part II will take a closer look at the detriment these approvals will cause and how you can defend against it!
 Organization For Competitive Markets - OCM Supports State Attorneys General Investigation of Monsanto
 ACS Publications - Cookie absent
 Now USDA Has Deregulated Genetically Engineered Bio-Fuel Corn! | Welcome to the Alliance for Natural Health - USA
Recent GM Approvals Spread Ruin, Not End Hunger
Continued from The USDA Paves Way For GM Takeover (Part I)
In the previous article, we explored how the USDA has partnered up with the genetically modified food companies, particularly Monsanto, to unleash ruin on the world and gain control of the food market. Now, in Part II we will see more specifically what these approved crops mean for your health and environment. Be sure to sign the petition linked at the bottom of the article and check out the documentaries highlighted to learn what a future of GM food means for the world.
Genetically modifying alfalfa to feed cattle is perpetuating the most dangerous trend in the western diet. Raising animals to produce food in a factory farm setting is a main source of the utter ruin of our planet. From the Amazon Rainforest to U.S. soil, we are sacrificing vital land and polluting the air to feed an insatiable appetite for meat.
A 2006 article from the UN news center helps put this trend of raising animals for main sources of food into perspective: “Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 per cent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.”
If the intent is to feed hungry people, then why are we feeding cows?
These animals consume huge amounts of energy and water. We use two to five times more water to grow grain for these animals than just to raise the crops that we eat ourselves. One source estimates almost a quarter of the world’s water goes to livestock use. Amidst global food shortages – where 800 million people on our planet go hungry every day – the majority of corn and soy grown on this earth go to feed these animals.
Plus, these animals generate massive volumes of greenhouse gasses released into our atmosphere. The U.N. estimates that livestock are responsible for almost a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions – much more than what the cars and trucks on America’s roads account for.- Shahreen Abedin, CNN Milk and beef are just not sustainable when produced by factory farms and while raw milk is a nutritionally dense food that promotes health and healing, pasteurized milk is just another government endorsed nail in the coffin for many people. The consumption of meat and dairy products that aren’t raw and organic is dangerous, not just because of the staple fat and acidity found in such foods, but also because of the animals’ diets.
The building blocks of these animals on a cellular level, from gestation to death, are derived from genetically mutated corn and soy (neither of these plants is suited for a cow’s digestive process) and soon to be introduced to their diets, GM alfalfa. Created through the injection of bacteria or virus into the plant, the RoundUp Ready crops will be subject to repeated chemical lashings to keep weeds from growing with much less labor. Isn’t it just like our culture to be damned to poor health under the guise of “convenience”?
Pasteurization seemed convenient too but has now lead to myriad health problems among its consumers – asthma, obesity, digestive problems as well as exposure to the cows’ chemical diets. On the other hand, raw milk from cows raised on non-GMO grasses and feed, is nutritionally dense and promotes health and healing. As far as meat goes, cattle that grazing on grass offers much healthier fats and proteins in comparison to the factory-farmed counterparts. Grass is much easier to grow in a sustainable way, it just takes more room.
Space is considered a problem, but so are high fat diets that consist of fast food, red meat, and dairy. Wouldn’t it be worth trading a Big Mac every afternoon for the occasional grass fed steak? Cows can continue to provide nutrition with milk and protein if we choose to eat their meat and product wisely instead of with reckless abandon that is destroying this place we call home.
Genetically modified alfalfa is only serving to further nutrition loss in soil, environmental pollution, and the loss of health. All to provide food products that are drastically inferior while endangering organic farming practices and availability of organic meat and dairy. As I brought forth in Part I, a study by ES&T researchers at Michigan State University found that the most efficient crop for biofuels was alfalfa and the least efficient alfalfa use was for cattle feed.
Organic milk and dairy products may be more difficult to find as the GM alfalfa is expected to soon contaminate non-GM and organic crops as it they can pollinate over many miles via wind currents. There is no regulation regarding planting boundaries. A field of RoundUp Ready alfalfa can be planted right next to an organic field. In situations of crop contamination, farmers unfortunate enough to have patented Monsanto strains found in their fields without having payed for them will be held liable and vulnerable to litigation.
It’s also going to hurt our economy in an immediate way as Japan, the largest importer of U.S. grown alfalfa, along with South Korea, have threatened to stop importing the crop if the GE variety is grown in the U.S. due to fears of cross contamination.
As for the sugar beets, the re-approval of the plant to produce a product that contributes to poor health (after it was found that their original approval was a violation of laws) is an example of the industry setting its own rules.
Beet sugar prices are facing a spike because of bad weather in Australia and Brazil, so the USDA has allowed these companies to resume planting of the RoundUp Ready crop, ensuring that the US sugar supply remains abundant. Yet another glaring conflict of interests as the USDA also recently released its dietary guidelines which places an emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and avoiding things like trans fats, refined flours, and added sugars.
“The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are being released at a time when the majority of adults and one in three children is overweight or obese and this is a crisis that we can no longer ignore,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in an official press release.
Not only did his agency make sure that sugar will still be available, but they have put the the non-GM beets in serious jeopardy as the crop, like alfalfa, can be pollinated by wind and travel distances anywhere from 6-12 miles. GM sugar beets accounted for more than 90 percent of the sugar beets grown last year and the crop makes up 30 percent of sugar production.
After the ruling in August last year that ordered that GM plantings of sugar beets be removed from the ground on the basis that no Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) had been conducted, farmers found it difficult to find non-GM beet seeds. Monsanto released them in 2005, it took five years to diminish the availability of non-GM seed strains of the entire crop. This seed shortage lead to food processors pressuring the agency to deregulate the beets once again, albeit partially, despite the judge’s ruling.
This is the first “partially deregulated” GM crop. Planting is restricted within four miles of other sugar beets, table beet, or chard seed fields and farmers’ fields will be subject to inspection. There is little hope that four miles is going to prevent contamination. Paul Achitoff, the lead counsel for Earthjustice said “It’s just window dressing,” and would not prevent the spread of the biotech trait.
“The decision is a win for consumers,” said Duane Grant, a beet farmer in Rupert, Idaho, and chairman of the farmer-owned Snake River Sugar Company. “It assures a full beet crop will be planted in 2011.” 
More of the same is not “a win for consumers,” it is a win for these companies who will continue to use harmful farming practices to produce unhealthy foods. It is companies like this that were able to pressure the agencie’s approval of the beets; thumbing their nose at the judge who ordered the ban, able to resume planting even though completion of the EIS isn’t expected until May 2012.
Ethanol corn is certainly not going to be feeding anyone and it’s not going to save the environment with an alternative energy source either. The problems here, among the environmental consequences and likelihood of contaminating other crops associated with all GMs, is perpetuating the debacle of ethanol corn’s bad economics and negative environmental impacts of production.
As stated above, ethanol is costing much more to produce then it is worth and despite scientists encouraging the government to leave the crop behind, they are going full steam ahead regardless of the giant inefficiency iceberg; our already weakened economy and environment. Just like the Titanic, this “unsinkable” ethanol for energy idea is going to come to a disatrous end.
A recent article from Reuters shines light on why the government is continuing to endorse the bad economics of ethanol. It points to the fallacies of the approval.
Federal law requires that billions of gallons of ethanol be blended in gasoline each year. This year the ethanol mandate is set at about 13 billion gallons.Again, the government has set our economy and environment in jeopardy, and because of the threat of cross-contamination, these crops pose a threat to consumer health.
Another article from Reuters identifies the health risks involved with this bioengineered corn that has been modified to produce an enzyme that speeds the breakdown of starch into sugar, making it easier to turn into biofuel.
Several groups, including the North American Millers’ Association, the Center for Food Safety and Union of Concerned Scientists, said USDA failed to adequately consider the impact the genetically modified corn crop would have on human health, the environment, or the livelihood of farmers.In April of this year , representatives of Syngenta, the company that developed the seeds, met with the North American Millers’ Association member food scientists and shared some test results. One of the tests showed a significant, negative impact on food quality and performance at an extremely low level. NAMA expressed concern to Syngenta about the impact this could have on all corn food products. 
From the Center For Food Safety,
The fear of groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists is that it will contaminate corn grown for food.These approvals bring potential of harm that will resound through the nation and it’s clear that the pressure against them is strong.
Already, there is a mind shift of those who wish to safeguard their health and agricultural practices that provide sustainability. More consumers in the United States are choosing organic, local, or they’re growing their own. They know that eating right to maintain health doesn’t start with eating foods spliced with bacteria in order to withstand heavy dousing of RoundUp Ready herbicide that is mainly composed of glyphosate. You could think of it as a deadly secret ingredient lurking in the majority of packaged and fast foods.
Mounting evidence shows damage to animals and humans from unlabeled and untested GM foods. Consumers ingesting them are risking their health and fertility and that of their offspring. Even the USDA’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) admits that, “acute toxicity in mice was observed.” Consumers who ingest foods with residues of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide may experience “general and non-specific signs of toxicity from subchronic and chronic exposure to glyphosate includ[ing] changes in liver weight, blood chemistry (may suggest mild liver toxicity), liver pathology, and weight of the pituitary gland.”
The EIS warns that, “Based on upper estimates of exposure … infants consuming fruit and all age groups consuming vegetables may be at risk of adverse effects associated with acute exposure to glyphosate residues.”
Estimates suggest upwards of 200 million pounds of glyphosate were used on US fields in 2008 alone, almost double the amount used in 2005. Exact figures are a closely guarded secret as the USDA has refusal to update its pesticide use database beyond 2007. The USDA has turned a blind eye to the damage that the increasing use of this toxin has caused to humans and the land. Even damage to the very crops the herbicide is meant to protect; root rot and parasitic infections in the soil interfere with nutrition uptake leading to lower yields and instances of Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in crops.
Don Huber, a plant pathologist who studied the SDS in crops that ravaged the midwest in 2009 and 2010, explains:
“By weakening plants and promoting disease, glyphosate opens the door for lots of problems in the field.”
“There are more than 40 diseases of crop plants that are reported to increase with the use of glyphosate…”
He goes on to explain that some of the fungi promoted by glyphosate produce deadly toxins. Historically, these sort of fungi have been associated with disease outbreaks.
“They’ve ‘been linked to the plague epidemics’ of medieval Europe, ‘large-scale human toxicosis in Eastern Europe,’ oesophageal cancer in southern Africa and parts of China, joint diseases in Asia and southern Africa, and a blood disorder in Russia. Fusarium toxins have also been shown to cause animal diseases and induce infertility.” 
We recently published an article that delves into the RoundUp dangers, manifesting its poisonous effects in the increase of stillborn cattle.
And then there are the so-called “super-weeds” that have taken over hundreds of acres. Immune to the chemical sprays, they ravage any bio-diversity and destroy farmland.
Can you smell the recipe for disaster brewing?
It’s time to take action!
You can protect yourself by planting a garden for you and your family. Spring is on its way. I have already started some seeds indoors and one of the most refreshing experiences I have had recently was at a seed swap. To see gardeners in my community coming together and sharing seeds that in months time will be nutritionally dense food, for no money, was empowering. Money is staying in pockets and big-ag is losing customers.
A garden to produce food for a person or even a family does not have to be large and there are numerous ways to garden in confined spaces. From window gardens, rooftops, buckets on a porch, to community gardens; all you need is some space, sun, water, and dirt. Growing your own foods means less expense on your wallet and the environment. It also means added nutrition as the fresher the vegetables, the more vitamins available for your health. In lieu of your own homegrown produce, find a local co-op that offers local fruits, veggies, and animal products. They can provide great savings and encourage local economy. Remember, when buying produce, always go for organics! While they may seem more expensive, it’s better to pay the price on the sticker then pay the price in an environmental or health loss.
Determine to choose wisely with your purchases and avoid buying food and fuel that are not sustainable.
The articles from Health Freedoms shows how you can guard against the coming spike in food prices and possible shortage.
Food Crises & Triumph (Part I) Food Prices
Food Crises & Triumph (Part II) Victory Gardens
The other thing you can do is speak up! Sign our petition (check back soon for link), let our leaders know in numbers that the American people do not want their food supply threatened by such outrageous approvals.
Inform yourself and others of the issues threatening! The following documentaries also provide insight on to what a future of GM foods mean.
Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns
 Holy cow: the wide impact of eating red meat – The Chart - CNN.com Blogs
 Government hands may be tied on ethanol: USDA official | Reuters
 USDA deregulates corn amylase used for ethanol | Reuters
 North American Millers' Association
 USDA Fully Deregulates GE 'Ethanol Corn'
 Institute for Responsible Technology -
"give a man a fish & then show em how"
"problems arrive when people think they can improve nature"
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