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"There is no federal labeling requirement for GMO foods in the US - after Congress succumbed to corporate lobbyists and removed the provision from the Farm Bill in late June."

Walmart is filling shelves with unlabeled Monsanto GMO corn. (photo: PepOmint/flickr)
Walmart is filling shelves with unlabeled Monsanto GMO corn. (photo: PepOmint/flickr)



GMO Food Headed for US Shelves

By Sustainable Business Staff

08 August 12

 

enetically engineered sweet corn from Monsanto is headed for Walmart store shelves, the first GMO product to travel from farms directly to consumer plates.

And you won't even know it, since there is no federal labeling requirement for GMO foods in the US -- after Congress succumbed to corporate lobbyists and removed the provision from the Farm Bill in late June.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) quietly approved the corn at the end of 2011. It is designed to be resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide and to produce a Bt toxin that kills insects that try to feed on the plants. The corn is being grown in the Midwest, Northwest, Southeast and Texas.

Walmart confirmed that it has no objection to selling the corn in a statement given to The Chicago Tribune. "After closely looking at both sides of the debate and collaborating with a number of respected food safety experts, we see no scientifically validated safety reasons to implement restrictions on this product," the company told the Tribune.

Other grocery chains including Whole Foods and Trader Joes have vowed not to sell the corn, and food company General Mills has likewise come out against it. But Walmart's capitulation means the corn could wind up in the mouths of hundreds of US consumers, without them knowing it.

Monsanto's corn has been touted as a safer and less toxic alternative to ones that use herbicides like 2,4-D (the key ingredient in Agent Orange). But scientists have cast doubt on those claims, reports Beyond Pesticides.

For one thing, there is growing concern over increasing rates of insect resistance to Bt crops. GE corn with Bt also negatively impacts soil life, reducing the presence of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi that are important for nutrient and water uptake.

GE crops also present cross-pollination risks for organic farms, the subject of an ongoing dispute over patents between Monsanto and local farmers. More than 300,000 people including farmers, seed growers and agricultural organizations participated in the suit against Monsanto. A federal judge dismissed the case in February, but the organics community has appealed (see more information below).

Federal GMO Labeling Measure Thwarted

Many feel GMO labeling should be required in the US; it already is mandated across the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and China. But legislation within the $500 billion Farm Bill that would have allowed states to require mandatory labeling of foods or beverages was cut from the final draft.

The amendment, opposed by just about every major food company, was introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who says he remains committed to getting it through.

Similar measures in Sander's home state of Vermont and in Connecticut have also failed to advance, but it will be on the November 2012 ballot in California after a petition drive gathered close to 1 million signatures guaranteeing its inclusion. Oregon is also taking up the issue.

Almost 50 countries already require GMO labels. Polls show nearly unanimous support (91%). The Just Label It! Campaign is encouraging people to contact the Food and Drug Administration to express their support for labeling. Click here to offer your support.

Scientists Sour on GMO Food

Aside from the rather rational policy of labeling, the case against using genetically engineered food for human or animal sustenance is building credibility in the scientific community.

A peer-reviewed report by Earth Open Source, "GMO Myths and Truths," concludes GMOs can create toxins and allergens in foods, and they will encourage new strains of herbicide-resistant superweeds as more farm and communities are exposed to these chemicals.

Epidemiological studies have also demonstrated a link between herbicide use, and birth defects and cancer, the report finds.

Taken together, the data offers more evidence why policymakers should be leery of using GMO for animal or human food, according to the report's authors.

"Research studies show that genetically modified crops have harmful effects on laboratory animals in feeding trials and on the environment during cultivation," says one author, Dr. Michael Antoniou, an expert in genetic engineering from Kings College London School of Medicine. "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."

The "GMO Myths and Truths" report seeks to counter the "PR machine" used by biotech companies to discredit independent research into the effects of GMOs.

"The GM industry is trying to change our food supply in far-reaching and potentially dangerous ways," says Claire Robinson, research director of Earth Open Source. "We all need to inform ourselves about what is going on and ensure that we -- not biotechnology companies -- keep control of our food system and crop seeds."

Farmers Renew Legal Offensive Against Monsanto

Speaking of control, The Organic Seeds Growers and Trade Association (OSGTA) filed a brief in early July asking a US Appeals Court in Washington, D.C., to reverse a decision that dismissed their 2011 lawsuit seeking to invalidate Monsanto's GMO seed patents and to prevent the company from suing farmers whose crops became genetically contaminated by air-borne seeds.

11 prominent law professors and 14 renowned organic food safety and consumer nonprofit organizations quickly came out in support of the farmers' appeal.

"Monsanto continues to claim that plaintiffs' concerns about being accused of patent infringement after being contaminated by Monsanto's transgenic seed are unsubstantiated and unjustified," says Dan Ravicher, attorney for the nonprofit Publlic Patent Foundation, which represents the plaintiffs in the suit. "But now two impeccable groups have joined with plaintiffs in explaining to the Court of Appeals how real and legitimate their concerns really are, especially since Monsanto continues to refuse to simply promise never to sue contaminated farmers for patent infringement."

Dozens of farmers have been driven into bankruptcy and many organic and non-GMO farmers are now afraid to plant seeds. Every year Monsanto investigates more than 500 farmers with “seed police,” says OGSTA. To date, the company has brought suits against 144 farmers; 700 farmers have been forced to settle out of court for undisclosed sums.

“We have a right to farm the way we choose,” says Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen, president of OSGTA. “Yet Monsanto is unwilling to control their GMO pollution and they refuse to sign a binding covenant not-to-sue our family farmers for patent infringement should their seed contaminate our crops. Monsanto’s publicized ‘Commitment’ promising that they would not sue farmers was described by Monsanto’s own lawyers as being ‘vague.’ "

Download the "GMO Myths and Truths" report:

Website: http://earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/GMO_Myths_and_Truths/GMO_Myths_and_Truths_1.3.pdf

 

Comments   

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+58 # pernsey 2012-08-08 07:15
Im not shopping or eating anything from Walmart ever. Shame on you!
 
 
+6 # KittatinyHawk 2012-08-09 04:07
Make sign for your Car and tell people...Tell people to watch for GMO food
Get Health Stores in Area to do one day seminars.
Contact your local papers, write letter to Editor
Fight Back and make others Aware
 
 
+47 # neohip 2012-08-08 07:59
Exactly. No Monsanto, no walmart. They are making it fairly easy so far.
 
 
+40 # DPM 2012-08-08 07:59
"Myths and Truths". Myth: We're a free people. Truth: We are "owned" by Fascist America.
 
 
+40 # jlohman 2012-08-08 07:59
I frankly don't know the answer. But I have hired and paid for an expert to protect me. MY CONGRESSMAN!

Oh. You say he's on the payroll and gets campaign bribes from Monsanto?
 
 
+27 # Spirit42 2012-08-08 08:10
Would like some spliced genes with that corn?

Yummy. Why I buy local and organic when I can.
 
 
+21 # FLAK88 2012-08-08 08:50
JHC ! Don't shop at Malwart, then ! Wake up !
 
 
+18 # Don Thomann 2012-08-08 09:05
It's intentional! It's "Population control" concealed!
 
 
+14 # jwb110 2012-08-08 09:21
My question is this. If the GM foods include, lets say, genetic material from pigs, shouldn't that be labeled for those who do not eat pork an religious grounds? They may be violating their own religious tenets because they have not been informed. This is a question that should posed to Jewish and Muslim communities.
 
 
+18 # newsmom 2012-08-08 09:35
i can reconfigure my budget to afford the occasional higher-priced food or commodity. what do we do about those who can't? what do we do about the towns where malwart is the only option? we still don't know what residual effects these gene-spliced have on people. we are so screwed.
 
 
-29 # happycamper690 2012-08-08 10:17
Let's stop for a moment and consider that genetic modification, on the whole, does good things for large groups of people. For instance, look at the effect "yellow" rice has had on vitamin deficiencies in Africa and the lives being saved by GM foods. We have created an hysterical public with terms like "Frankenfood." We must recognize that we are at the beginning of life on a new planet where global conditions will not provide nearly enough food for a growing population. Genetic modification may, if we are very, very lucky, provide some glimmer of hope for survival. It is not about boycotting Wal-Mart where our energies should be focused. Such actions are without meaning when compared to finding ways of feeding billions people on a dying planet. I know these are harsh words, but let's get beyond which store sells what products and try to concentrate solving our more fundamental dilemmas.
 
 
+17 # seakat 2012-08-08 15:58
happycamper, you've bought the bill of goods the pro-GMO folks have sold you. Please do more research on golden rice, it takes something like 23 bowls per day for it to provide the necessary nutrition. And as for GMOs feeding the starving masses - not going to happen. Superweeds & superbugs are taking over thanks to GMO technology, calling for more powerful herbicides & insecticides to poison us and the planet. Mother Nature will always win.
 
 
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-08-09 04:13
I eat yellow rice...it has turmeric in it which I put in. Turmeric is good for multiple health reasons.
I do not know much about Yellow rice but the spanish culture uses spices to enhance their rices. Saffron a good product also colors rice.

If there is harmful yellow rice, I would like to know.
 
 
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-08-09 04:11
What dilemma is more im portant than awareness of food that has the potential to kill, and poison the Earth?
Would you make a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop ingest agent orange? If not, then why tell us we should not organize and make people aware of these poisoned crops?

You have choice, eat what you will but if you feed others, children these foods, then explain to them when they have cancer.
 
 
+18 # Phlippinout 2012-08-08 10:53
I am going to make a point to go to the farmers market and bypass all grocery stores. I have no trust in any of them.
 
 
+2 # John Steinsvold 2012-08-08 12:11
An Alternative to capitalism (If the people knew about it, they would demand it)

Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: "There is no alternative".
She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: "Home of the Brave?" which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

John Steinsvold

Perhaps in time the so-called dark ages will be thought of as including our own.
--Georg C. Lichtenberg
 
 
+6 # cordleycoit 2012-08-08 12:34
Don't worry they are forcing GMO during a famine,, typical of big everything.Hear tless corruption of the food supply which will benefit the surgeons and bankers and keep the politicians alive a bit longer maybe. One look at the future has former Congress people living and hiding from their constituents wraith who hunt them like mad dogs.
 
 
+6 # janie1893 2012-08-08 13:01
"Hunger Wars" is an unintential but very accurate prediction of our North American future. Why is it that the'smarter' human beings get, the more genocidal we become?
 
 
+3 # Willman 2012-08-08 18:41
Just like willard romoneys secret tax returns no disclosure of GMO poison.
 
 
+1 # Antemedius 2012-08-08 19:59
"there is no federal labeling requirement for GMO foods in the US"

"The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) quietly approved the corn at the end of 2011."

.........

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Vilsack

Thomas James "Tom" Vilsack ... is an American politician, a member of the Democratic Party, and presently the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
...
Barack Obama announced Vilsack's selection to be the United States Secretary of Agriculture under his administration on December 17, 2008.
...
Vilsack's nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent on January 20, 2009.
 
 
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-08-09 04:16
Just because he was nominated by a democrat does not mean he cannot be bought.

The push to feed the world has a price tag...make false growers rich and destroy the earth with poisoned seeds.

Why was no one protesting this at the meetinings. Why is no one making African Nations aware? Perhaps the big Corporations are now going to kill African people to take their resources
 
 
-2 # PeeeBeee 2012-08-08 21:42
Since its my photo of our non gmo corn used in the article...I have to say that as a non organic..but non chemical using/non gmo growing farmer....unles s you totally adhere to the the organic lifestyle...mea ning dont you buy a loaf of bread/box of cereal/containe r of yogurt/refriger ated cinnamon rolls/cake/brow nie/cookie mix....ice crea/any type of frozen food....pancake or waffle mix....chips/pr ingles/soda or pop/yadda yadda....don't bitch...I understand the concern..but I get SO tired of the "organics" going on and on about how their lifestyle choices are better than everyone elses...yet they go to their local ice cream shops....buy waffles...cake mix...blah blah...to me? if you're going to preach it? you better damn walk that line..and walk it straight.
 
 
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-08-09 04:26
We do not have to I raise my animals, veggies, flowers, fruit as organic as I possibly can. I try to buy responsibly and that means American.
I buy organic chips, pretzels. I do not drink much soda, occassionaly a green tea beverage. I take to drinking my water regularly.
I do get a pizza, steak sandwich. I do eat Activia organic when available. I eat little bread that is not whole grain.
Cerael is organic, so is my meat whenever possible. I have been doing this for 45 years.
I buy from local farmers, many admitting they are not organic but not selling GMO
I buy Organic local grown as we have larger community promoting it.

No one can walk the line perfectly as many do not even pay attention to the imported crap they eat. But the more awareness we provide, the better chance the sustainable farmers have of getting locals to buy from them.

We will all be buying cross bred crap in ten years if we do not promote Seedsmen. I buy Heirloom seeds, people can get these so make the aware.

I do not know what your gripe is, thanks for the photo but it does not give you the right to criticize. Most people here have become more aware, hopefully they are making others aware.

I doubt you are losing sales on corn. You will never get people spouting vinegar....to understand what message you are sending except one that sounds more like a GMO'r
 
 
+4 # Vardoz 2012-08-09 07:30
I live in a state where there are a lot of local farmers and will NEVER buy GMO foods.
 
 
+3 # Kathymoi 2012-08-09 12:47
how does the lobbying approach work? If a senator or congressman knows that something is bad for the public and is opposed by his or her constituents, why does lobbying make any difference? As far as I can tell, the power that lobbyists have is to give "gifts" to the elected officials that they visit. Gifts in this case might be an all-expensed paid vacation somewhere really nice, or a time share condo in Florida or hawaii, a substantial contribution to their campaign fund, a scholarship for one of their children, something like that. A nice gift. How does it happen that we are electing such a preponderance of officials who are willing to exchange doing the right thing, the thing they know for sure is right, to doing the wrong thing in order to get some personal gift??? How does this happen so predominantly? I am seriously asking. How does this work so effectively?
 

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