Monday, September 12, 2016

Big Money Wins Out In New Bogus GMO Labeling Law

John Phillips: Bio-geneticist and nutrition specialist, has shown links between GMO foods and Alzheimer's.

Perhaps too many citizens are unaware that a new GMO labeling law has been passed, but it is littered with loopholes large enough to drive a metaphorical Mack truck through.  The cynical corporate and government masterminds behind it realized they had to provide some cover for themselves given the uproar in this country concerning the lack of GMO labeling. 

Thus,  multinational and corporate "big food" and its allies spent $100 million to get a bogus labeling law passed in order to counter the anti-GMO labeling movement.  Much of their effort was forced by Vermont's GMO labeling law - now rendered null - which would have spread  to other states had the bogus federal law not emerged  (After all, the M.O. in this country is whenever a serious political challenge or movement arises, create front groups to defuse the issues, the movement or both)

Millions have justifiably expressed concern at this tactic given that - as John Phillips (Barbadian bio -geneticist) has found, Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide) is present in all genetically engineered foods. And it’s not something that can be washed off or taken out of the food by cooking or purification – it’s integrated into the plant on a fundamental level.   Monsanto- the maker-  was also a manufacturer of the pesticide DDT, which now has been conclusively linked to the development of Alzheimer’s, as well as many other degenerative diseases in humans.

Experts like Mr. Phillips now believe that glyphosate is even worse than DDT. It decimates beneficial bacteria in the gut, disrupts immune function, and has been correlated with shocking precision to the rise in autism and other cognitive diseases and conditions. 

But let's return to the bogus labeling law, which on the surface sounds legit. After all, as Mark Bittman in the NY Times has pointed out (9/10): "it mandates that the Department of Agriculture define what constitutes a genetically modified food ingredient and then requiring food manufacturers to label products that contain them". What's not to like?  Well, the loopholes and latitude allowed including (ibid.):

- As a label, food producers can substitute a "toll -free number" for consumers to call to get further information on their own.

- Or they can scan a UPC code using a smartphone to get the info needed

As Bittman puts it,  the message to the American consumer is "You deserve to know what's in your food", but to food producers, "Feel free to make the information as difficult to find as you'd like"
The FDA, as I noted before, has declared GMOs not to be harmful, hence no need for labeling. But the feds have still failed to apply the precautionary principle, that it is the GMO producers' job to prove their products are safe, not for outside observers to disprove it. Further, offering a simple declaration based on research done by those linked to Monsanto and other GMO producers, doesn't make the proof standard. As Bittman puts it: "Our system for declaring products safe leaves much to be desired" - which is putting it mildly.

Bittman goes on to note that while it is true GMO crops, like soybeans and corn, "have led to fewer applications of herbicides"  they have "also encouraged the growth of weeds that have become resistant to herbicides after years of exposure."

And most to the point:

"GMOs have become an indispensable crutch for the fertilizer and pesticide-dependent monoculture that is wrecking our land and water and generating the execrable excess of corn and soy-based junk food that is sickening our population and decreasing our life spans":

Which reinforces local Dem candidate Electra Johnson's recent take (Colorado Springs Independent, Aug. 18-19, p. 20 ):

"Our leaders are not looking after us....we are not cared for at the level of our very survival".

What are our leaders looking after? Well, the profits for the corporations - businesses that give them most of their political campaign largesse. God forbid these poltroons "bite the hand that feeds them".
Bitmann avers that now that we're "allowed" to know at least some of what's in our foods (if we dig deep enough) there are other questions we may have to ask including:

-  Where are the ingredients from?

- Were antibiotics routinely administered to animals?

- What pesticides and other chemicals were used?

- What farming practices were used?

- How much water was required?

Bittman acknowledges all this information and more could be made available and also that "some people may care while others don't" but the point is that whether maximal info content is used ought to be a choice of the consumer - not the product manufacturer.   As Bittman puts it at the end of his piece:

"Companies doing things well should seize the chance to put whatever they can on the package ...companies that don't disclose information could be assumed to have something to hide."

This is well put, and something all of us ought to seriously consider when we make our next food purchase, and as Bittman notes "we're long overdue for a transparency revolution"


No comments: