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March 7, 2014

GMO News Summary March 7 2014

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*Fresh off its success in pressuring General Mills to return to its non-GMO formulation for Cheerios, GMOInside is launching a new campaign to pressure Starbucks to use only non-GMO organic milk. Other chains have already demonstrated this can be economically successful, as has Starbucks itself since it committed to using only milk without bovine growth hormone (BGH).
 
From the abolitionist point of view, the main points of campaigns like these are:
 
1. To help build a customer base for non-GM production, which will grow and become more economical as this customer base grows.
 
2. To counteract the propaganda which depicts GMOs as an unstoppable juggernaut with our own growing publicity campaign which ever more frequently shows people how GMOs are not only harmful but are easily stoppable, that there are alternatives to them.
 
For more on retailer pressure campaigns, see here and here.
 
(Along similar lines, the Smart Balance line of spreads has claimed it’s going GM-free over the next 90 days.)
 
*Legal controversy continues in New Zealand over the authority of regional councils to regulate GMOs under the precautionary principle. The latest ruling by an Environment Court judge affirms that the Bay of Plenty Regional Council can explicitly consider GMOs in its management directives under the Resource Management Act (which itself does not explicitly mention them), and therefore rejected the government’s attempt to preemptively suppress such analysis from the Council’s regional policy statement.
 
This kind of struggle, over the very concept of GMOs as a special kind of product which needs special policy consideration, is becoming more prominent as the cartel seeks to remove GMOs completely from even the meager regulatory oversight they currently have. In particular, the cartel hopes that the impending TTIP globalization accord will provide the mechanism for the total deregulation of GMOs, and the eradication of “GMO” as any kind of category at all. 
 
While American power hierarchy currently has little in common with that of New Zealand, we can still look to this as an example of an alternative arrangement to our own status quo. The movement to achieve and enforce county-level GMO bans is one attempt to bring an alternative into being.
 
*BRIC disunity? While Russia and China are definitely planning to prevent their agriculture from coming under US/Monsanto domination, and Brazil seems also to be taking measures to preserve its agricultural independence, India’s central government is a determined US flunkey. (And not just on GMOs.)
 
The latest move is the new Environment Minister’s approval of hundreds of new GMO field trials. As Vandana Shiva explains in this piece, field trials have little practical purpose, but are primarily political exercises. I’ve made the same point myself several times.
 
*But Brazil’s also still pondering breaking the global moratorium on Terminator seeds. A legislative attempt was allowed to die on the vine in 2013, but the new Judicial Commission and Congress may try again to push through a bill which would supposedly allow for a “limited” use of such seeds. In a typical example of regulator corporatism, Brazil’s agricultural research agency Embrapa has pushed the propaganda line that the Terminator’s purpose isn’t to enforce monopoly, but merely to prevent genetic contamination. Allegedly the approval would be limited to just a few kinds of trees (their plantations accelerating deforestation). But clearly this would be just the prelude to their general commercialization across all GM crop types, the camel’s nose in the tent.
 
*A new study provides evidence that the global epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origin (CKDu) among agricultural workers is caused by a combination of glyphosate and heavy water. This is an example of the combined effects of poisons and other environmental factors.
 
The disease, manifesting the same symptoms, occurs in separate agricultural regions around the world – Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and elsewhere. This rules out any kind of local cause.
 
This is just one example of a highly toxic combined effect of an agricultural poison and a second factor. Such combinations are never considered or tested for in the regulatory process, and are ideologically denied by cartel and regulators alike.
 
That in turn is just one of the several ways in which we have proof that the regulatory process is inimical to the health of the people and environment. The impending TTIP/TPP intend to coordinate these regulators for far more aggressive action against us.
 
They’re systematically and intentionally poisoning humanity and the earth. Will we do anything about it?
 
*The protest of scientists against the politically motivated censorship by Food and Chemical Toxicology of the only fully comprehensive safety study of a GMO, the 2012 Seralini study, continues to build.
 
*A Seattle law firm is seeking wheat farmers to participate in a class action lawsuit against Monsanto for economic losses to Oregon wheat farmers in 2013 caused by the discovery of genetically contaminated wheat in Oregon. According to the announcement today (March 7) is the deadline for farmers to apply to join the class.
 
*Although establishment NGOs often do excellent journalistic work, and although abolitionists and fighters for freedom and democracy may often make tactical alliances with them, we must always be aware that in the end they’re part of the same corporatist system complex as Monsanto and the FDA, and identify with these far more than they do with the people or with the rising Community Food movement which constitutes the alternative to corporate agriculture. It’s our movement which is targeted for destruction by the FDA under the Food Control Act.
 
Where it comes specifically to GMOs, we can assume that NGOs will never fight for anything more severe than labeling, that they all want the FDA to be in charge, and that even the few who have expressed concern over FDA preemption will acquiesce in this as well.
 
But labeling, taken as any kind of sufficient end goal, is still part of “coexistence”. But we know coexistence cannot work, and that the abolition of GMOs is necessary.

 
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