The Herbicide Glyphosate ROUNDUP Maybe Responsible For Birth Defects According To Study

In an earlier blog Food Security Not A National Priority BU touched on the issue of  genetically modified foods but of interest was the wide spread use of the herbicide Roundup in Barbados and its possible harmful effect on the environment. To quote the article: How many people are aware a company which calls itself Monsanto is the world’s largest manufacturer of genetically modified seed?   It maybe ironic to some Monsanto is also the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as Roundup.

Like most developing countries we have no inclination to implement homegrown standards to protect our populations. We are happy to import every %&@! from overseas and gorge on it even if it is to the detriment of our health.

In the same way CLICO Barbadian policyholders would have depended on the financial regulator to warn about this failing institution if it was experiencing difficulty meeting its statutory reserve requirement. So too we rely on our government to ‘protect’ us from imported food items especially in the obvious cases.

Concern has been raised on BU and elsewhere about the use of Roundup and to date we are unaware that any definitive decision or action has been taken by government to investigate and protect its citizens from what appears from studies to be a harmful  herbicide glyphosate.

A recent study by Earth Open Source which was summarized in the  Huffington Post last week . Here is a damning excerpt from the Huffington Post article: 

“The Earth Open Source study also reports that by 1993 the herbicide industry, including Monsanto, knew that visceral anomalies such as dilation of the heart could occur in rabbits at low and medium-sized doses. The report further suggests that since 2002, regulators with the European Commission have known that glyphosate causes developmental malformations in lab animals.

Even so, the commission’s health and consumer division published a final review report of glyphosate in 2002 that approved its use in Europe for the next 10 years.”

When all is said and done the final responsibility is left to you the consumer to educate yourself because your good health is yours to protect.

BU acknowledges the family member who alerted us to the report.

0 thoughts on “The Herbicide Glyphosate ROUNDUP Maybe Responsible For Birth Defects According To Study


  1. In 10-15 years, some of us will be reading more about this and asking, ‘What action was taken by the government to investigate and protect its citizens……..’
    ‘Wait and see’.
    There is money to be made and jobs to protect; more important than the health of its people.
    Oftentimes when a study is carried out and its findings published about a product, the company finds somebody who it describes as a ‘distinguished’ person in that field to come up with another report which states the opposite. We should be mindful of the fact that those ‘distinguished consultants are paid by the company.

    An Island like Barbados with its high educational structure and astute politicians should be cognizant of the fact that a build up of those herbicides cannot be good for the soil or human beings.It is impossible to know how much residue is left in the soil and water after an application to the treated area and how long it will remain.
    Lets hope government reads this and do all in its power to ban this product from the shelves in our stores.


  2. The World According To Monsanto – full length video:

    From the Youtube blurb:
    There’s nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it — it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. The story starts in the White House, where Monsanto often got its way by exerting disproportionate influence over policymakers via the “revolving door”. One example is Michael Taylor, who worked for Monsanto as an attorney before being appointed as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. While at the FDA, the authority that deals with all US food approvals, Taylor made crucial decisions that led to the approval of GE foods and crops. Then he returned to Monsanto, becoming the company’s vice president for public policy.


    • This movie is long. But it is worth every second of its length. This movie should be shown to children in every school in Barbados on a monthly basis and on their last day of school before going out in the world. I cannot tell you how it has affected me today. Awe, sadness, anger comes to mind.

      Question: What can we do in Barbados. Well…for starters: A law should be passed that every house should have a large tree and one fruit tree in their yard and every swampland should be stamped with a National Conservation sign with strict rules and heavy fines if any one is caught even trying to ‘develop’ or ‘mess with’ them. As I said, this for starters. To know that a tree is made up of the same cells as us…to know that when one kills a tree it is like murdering your mother with your own bare hands, is an important piece of learning. Kill a tree – go to court for murder! To know that swamplands hold in their fold every living cell required to give us life…makes me wonder what kind of humans we are ready to turn them into concrete.

      I do hope you will take time to look at this…and share with as many people as you can. We are responsible.

      Credit::Rosemary Parkinson


  3. OFFTOPIC

    Cables: FNM had ‘hostile takeover’ of civil service

    When it came to office in 2007, the Ingraham administration was greeted by a recalcitrant civil service that was so bureaucratic and inefficient in its operations that the new government felt it was in the midst of a “hostile takeover”, according to cables obtained through WikiLeaks.

    In several cables, the Americans highlight concerns about unhelpful civil servants, bureaucratic frustrations and inefficient operations.

    In a 2003 cable, a U.S. Embassy official wrote: “The Bahamian civil service has honed sloth and delay disguised as deliberation and consensus-building to a fine art.”

    In a 2007 cable, another official wrote that the new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette had encouraged “informal back-channel communication” with U.S. Embassy personnel, apparently because he had little faith in civil servants.

    “He explained that the new government was effectively in the midst of a ‘hostile takeover’ of the bureaucracy and that it would take time for them to get a handle on the machinery of government.

    “He told the Charge that we should not assume that information provided to ministry staff — or diplomatic representatives abroad — would get to him.”

    As a result, Symonette suggested weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the then Charge d’ Affaires Dr. Brent Hardt to review priority issues so he could ensure necessary follow up.

    “The charge welcomed the suggestion and expressed his appreciation for the openness and commitment to action on key issues,” said the 2007 cable.

    “The foreign minister also noted that in his role as DPM, [Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham] wanted him to be a troubleshooter who could delve into issues that cut across ministerial portfolios.

    “In contrast to former PM (Perry) Christie’s consensus-oriented government, PM Ingraham’s government will be top-down, and Symonette has offered us rare access at the top. This access and the open lines of communication suggest that an already close bilateral relationship will get even better under Ingraham’s and Symonette’s stewardship.”

    In a cable written in 2008, a U.S. Embassy official commented on restructuring efforts in certain public service departments, as well as announced Cabinet changes.

    “The reassignment of so many senior civil servants along with the Cabinet reshuffle may indicate that the Ingraham administration is completing its hostile takeover of the recalcitrant bureaucracy left over from the previous government,” the cable said.
    http://www.thenassauguardian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11223&Itemid=27


  4. The latest round of E-Coli in France has been purported to have been the result of improper handling of plant seeds, so said the British. The outbreak in Germany was blamed primarily on plant suckers coming out of a nursery. One wonders if relevant ministries here are aware of the dangers that these herbicides pose. It has been often said that some unscrupulous farmers, in order to prevent insects from penetrating their mature produce are known to spray vegetables with pesticides a few days before harvesting. This cocktail of Herbicide and Pesticide must be the silent killer among us.
    But somewhere in Barbados, I do not know for certain, is some herbicide that is capable of killing a full grown tree in 3/4 days. I have seen on two different occasions some previously healthy trees, reduced to leafless skeletons in a matter of days, some of which were mahogany trees, and no doubt ended up in someones home gracing their living room or bedroom with its deadly ingestion.
    Not very long ago, I stopped at unique pond in the central part of the island, and was horrified to see a chemical mixture in a nearby pump house leaking into the pond, which is the habitat of a rare Barbados bird. I am sure that this area must also be a Zone One Water area, as there are two BWA wells nearby.


  5. @David

    There is suupoased to be a Pesticide Control Board that look at the importation of Pesticides, herbicides etc and advise the Minister of Agriculture..


    • About Pesticides Control Board               
      Mission Statement
      The mission of The Pesticides Control Board is to ensure a high level of protection for the environment and the health and safety of agricultural workers and consumers from dangerous chemicals
      GoalsProvision of rationale, relevant background information and advice to enable the enactment of legislation / regulations for the adequate management of pesticides in BarbadosRegulation of the import, management and usage of pesticides in Barbados through registration, licensing, establishment of licensing conditions, appropriate policy formulationAssists in the Development of policy, regulations/ and modification of legislationPolicing of Compliance with Legislation/Regulations
      Who are our clients?
      Members of the public interested in importing chemicals for use in the:Manufacturing of PesticidesRegistering of PesticidesLicensing of PesticidesSale of PesticidesHousehold use
      Contact information:
      The Pesticides Unit
      Ministry of Agriculture
      Graeme Hall
      Christ Church
      Barbados, W.I.
      Telephone: (246) 434-5022
      Fax: (246) 420-8444
      Email: pcb[at]agiculture.gov.bb
       
      Senior Management
      Composition of Pesticides Control Board:
      Mr. R. Farnum       Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer (Crops) Ag. – ChairmanDr. J. St. John       Chief Medical Officer or nominee                              Ms. D. Haynes      Government AnalystMr. A. Headley     Deputy Director Environmental Protection Department          Mr. M. James        Agricultural Officer I; Ministry of AgricultureDr. Eslie Alleyne    Member
      Legislation
      Pesticides Control Act 
       Pesticides Control Regulations 1974
      Pesticides Control Labelling of Pesticides Regulations


  6. I do not have time to read all the Legislation that is in place re Pesticides…and I am even shocked to find out that there is a Pesticide Control Board…ah what? where are they? and what do they really do? Because if they in fact exist and are doing their job, then products from Monsanto (all as far as I am concerned but particularly Roundup) would not be available in Barbados. I need not tell Barbadians about the size of their land. But I can tell Barbadians that the soil on this land is in serious trouble…and has been for years. With this soil comes the pollution of everything everytime it rains…and I mean everything. Basically you could almost say that we adults and our children are drinking pesticides on a daily basis, and I ent care who tell me otherwise! If traces of pesticides used in the apple industry of America can be found as far down the line of processed foods such as apple sauce, who is we?

    Now we might believe that if the FDA allows Monsanto to continue its manufacturing of its various “products” (and I include their seeds in this) because it knows that Monsanto’s products are good, think again! Let us take a trip to Hollywood to find out that “safe” and “good for the world” does not even come into it. Just take a look at the movie Casino Jack with Kevin Spacey (I bought it at Chubbies/Sheraton Barbados) one will really then only understand the lobby system of the U.S.

    The dictionary describes a lobbyist as:supplicant, requester, asker, activist, campaigner, client. Somebody who is paid to lobby political representatives on an issue (the latter from the Encarta Dictionary: English (North America).Notice the American description – ONE WHO GETS PAID TO LOBBY. These people are paid huge sums of money by big companies such as Monsanto (and include in you will the myriad food & water processors in the US as well – the cattle industry too big time!) to ‘convince’ lawmakers about their innocence and wanting to do “good for the world”. And when I say convince, money does pass here too. So really nothing that the FDA tells ya, is ultimately the honest truth and nothing but the truth. It is all about money and nothing more!

    Need anyone say more? While the world gets sicker and sicker, America is there to “save us” with Mpnsanto and genetically modified foods.

    What exactly is a GMO? Well you can go to http://www.truthistreason.net/what-exactly-is-a-gmo and be shocked… but if you are not a big reader perhaps this excerpt will say something to ya:

    “Children face the greatest risk from the potential dangers of GM foods for the same reasons that they also face the greatest risk from other hazards like pesticides and radiation, these include:

    * Young, fast-developing bodies are influenced most.
    * Children are more susceptible to allergies.
    * Children are more susceptible to problems with milk.
    * Children are more susceptible to nutritional problems.
    * Children are in danger from antibiotic resistant diseases.”

    Why is it that we have Monsanto products coming into our tiny island that is already in serious trouble with the amount of pesticides it has imbedded in its soil? Why is it that we are allowing GM seeds to be imported also? Does our health bill not reflect to a large extent what is happening here? Or it is that no one has bothered to make any connections in this area?

    Why is Barbados not turned into an organic island? Although it is a fact that what with the spraying of canes and all agricultural land for eons of time, it will take years (maybe never) to totally “un-pollute” (my word) our soil…but hell…if we start now, at least we will have a cleaner base, and as time progresses, a cleaner bill of health, and if we add nutrients from all the compost we could be making….slowly we could be the only island in the world that is completely organic. In this area, and I say it again, Barbadians also need to be informed (and if this is so, we need to put a stop to it immediately!!) whether our animal feed is indeed filled with growth hormones and antibiotics (and even the dreaded steroids) that they are purported to have…and if so…we must urge those local companies to look at what they do and desist immediately….clean up our food for crying out loud.

    I say this to the Pesticide Board on behalf of your fellow Barbadians who care and are worried about what we are consuming on a general basis : “You have a moral right to do your work – all of it – from banning Monsanto and its deadly products to the GMO seeds and anything else that is not organic in nature! not only for the good of your people, but think your own children and grandchildren….and their children and grandchildren. Remember: God might wear pyjamas but he doan sleep…and I urge you to remember dat well!! Or will you wait for a member of your family to be born with two heads, six arms and no legs??

    With the huge numbers of monies spent by “foodies” who travel the world not only looking for traditional foods but now “clean traditional foods”, instead of raking in sickness, we could be raking in some of dem dollars in food tourism. We could be a beacon to the world. All we need to do is ban the crap, grow the good, be organic and clean. Harder work yes! but far better for our future. We have organizations here and dedicated people in the fields who know that this can be achieved…let us look to them for inspiration.

    BUT FIRST STOP THE IMPORTS OF DEATH!!!

    So does the world really need them or are GMOs just a product of greed? Hmmm…Food for massive thought!


  7. What amazes me is the cocktails many homeowners and farmers use on a regular basis. All of the residue goes into our water supply, yet not word coming from government agencies. We need to have open discussions about these chemicals. I read somewhere that traces of pesticides and herbicides were found in women with breast cancer. Perhaps we are too afraid to know the truth and that is why there is a heavy silence.


  8. You got it islandgal…you got it. We scared to know de truth….I am not. I know de truth….I write about it on blogs and facebook openly…and if any one of our newspapers would like me to blow this out of the hole it is in, will do so in a snap. But when I offered a couple of years ago to write about such matters I was told that if I write good things, advertisers will also want a freeness and if I write bad things, advertisers would pull out. So what was I to write about?

    Newspapers have a moral duty to report the truth not to skim over it like it does not exist and all is honkey dorey…(did I say honkey???).We have government agencies that are tied to stakeholders in this mess of pesticides…sponsorship from these big companies is a given and removal of such sponsorship would be detrimental to certain festivals etc etc etc. You ent know how it works?? Who cares about who dying from pesticides when we can have sponsorship for a people’s gathering (notice there is always entertainment, ragga ragga music, dub for the masses, and plenty of booze!) that will bring in votes the better it gets every year. Come on!

    I am shocked at the lack of interest in these products that are allowed to be sold willy-nilly and in some cases actually pushed on farmers who do not know better. Sick of it all!!

    I tell you I am going to live in Siberia…where nutting grows and all I can eat is wild meat me haffi ketch meself!! Maybe de odd bush here and there….but at least no pesticides…! Well I hope not…otherwise I jumping on a space ship…But then,. I might not have that long to live ’cause I see perfectly good healthy looking people dropping down like flies ’bout hey on a daily basis…now where’s that pack of cigarettes I had hidden for days when I feel it makes no sense to fight for health when I am breathing in sickness daily anyhow???? Yes! guys pesticides do travel in the air also….


  9. BU had hoped to blog about the level of hormones which a feed company is currently using but the source did not follow through. This is another thing Barbadians need to become concerned about, we are what we eat. If we feed our animals food rich in hormones then expect issues down the road. At the minimum we need to investigate it, we need our media with the resources to step up!


  10. @Rosemary….Europe ain’t no better..Since Chernobyl there is so much contamination that people in the north of England cannot eat the meat that is reared there. Thousands of sheep have died all from radiation. And dem saying that Nuclear energy is clean. I have always been against Nuclear energy. Now Germany decide that they are not going to continue with it.


  11. @islandgal246: “Since Chernobyl there is so much contamination that people in the north of England cannot eat the meat that is reared there. Thousands of sheep have died all from radiation.

    Please don’t be so quick on the wick there girl…

    Long lasting radiation, by definition, has very little energy.

    Might you, perhaps, not understand the physics?


  12. Well Barbados will soon have a Waste to Energy Plant thanks to the bright politicians we have in Barbados. So Dioxin spills and accidents cannot happen according to Senator Darcy Boyce as the builders are expert. Trust Senator Darcy Boyce.


  13. @Chris nephu of Bonny Peppa ……I am no physicist but I am only quoting people who live in the UK.


  14. @Chris…..So what happens when one is exposed to extremely high doses of radiation over a period of time? I din’t study physics so ah aint brite like yuh.


  15. @islandgal246: “So what happens when one is exposed to extremely high doses of radiation over a period of time?

    One dies.

    But what is important is that highly radioactive elements decay quickly. (Ever heard of “half-life”?)

    We are all, every day, surrounded by slowly decaying elements which emit alpha, beta and gamma particles.

    And yet we live (for a while).


  16. Nuclear plants are a bloody hazard as far as I am concerned, and I do not think I need to be a physicist to know this…its like just a gut feeling…and you know women have good gut feelings. Yes! I know all about Europe and their problems with food too…unfortunately island gal….and I also have read all about the effects of the Japanese blast after their tsunami. Not a happy bunny over any of it.

    But we should forget about ‘dem’ and think about us. We are a small island that could in fact be amazing…Eutopia-type thoughts perhaps but it is possible. And we can certainly start with getting rid of Monsanto and its evil eye, and having the whole island begin the organic lift. As I said…. for starters.

    @David. The person in question is prepared to talk about what was in the report after a laboratory finding that local animal feed contains not only the highest level of FDA-allowed antibiotics and growth hormones and think ‘possibly’ steroids even. But please remember….does not have living proof as the person who did this testing is no longer on the island and took the ‘evidence’ with!

    However, I find it strange that we have asked this question, we have begged for someone from the feed company(ies) to come forth and state categorically whether this is true or not, we have even asked government officials basically to open up but nothing has come forth. Hmmm…Feed for thought? Yup! In my estimation. Truth?? One has only to look at how fast a chicken, turkey, pig, rabbit grows – not a normal growth but a very fast speeded-up growth – to know that someting ent right! Now the Poultry Producers claim their chickens are not given hormones etc…But they do not say if the feed companies do. So it is like a game to them.

    What is obvious to me is that someting got these harmful ingredients in dem.

    We also only have to take a look at young boys growing breasts as well as the size of some of the girls at age 8 etc. I saw a bunch of schoolchildren at a party a few weeks ago around a swimming pool, and was shocked to see the size of breasts on both male and female kids (group age 8-10)…as well as stomachs that looked like those of older men and women….distended to say the least! Now we all know the amount of chicken alone eaten on this island…and studies are connecting this type of early puberty and excessive breasts on boys as being associated to hormone intake! Does not take a rocket scientist in my estimation…nor do I have to be a Professor of Biology to know that the repercussions of such ingredients in our food chain, are to say the least, not good!.

    Nothing of course is stopping any of us collecting a little of each different feed and sending it abroad to be tested…If this is what the feed companies are waiting for…then they better think again and come clean…’cause someone finding that in fact these hormones/antiobiotics/steroids are in fact in the feed that animals in the food supply are eating, could open a can of worms that might be worse for them (even legally) in the long run. I ask this question to the Feed Companies in Barbados. Do you add growth hormones, steroids and/or antibiotics to our feed? If not…are they added before the feed arrives here somewhere in de mix? And if you know it is there (and you could not not know surely)…why not just remove the harmful stuff. Let animals feed on good clean feed made from veggies/grass etc. Add some vitamins if you so desire. But why give the people, why give your own family, beef that contains these elements that are known to be causing problems all over the world? Why? Could you be that greedy that you would even harm your own flesh and blood???

    Fix the problem before it blows up in your face is what I say…..that is, of course, if there is a problem. Appears to me that there is a problem, I must say….where? somewhere…but that is to be found out and ultimately to be reported openly for all to see….Another hmmmm…should of course be placed in here….and another….hmmmm….


  17. @Rosemary Parkinson: “Nuclear plants are a bloody hazard as far as I am concerned, and I do not think I need to be a physicist to know this…

    It would help your credibility…

    @RP: “…its like just a gut feeling…and you know women have good gut feelings.

    That’s called morning sickness.

    You all vomit while the men do things…

    (That’s meant to be funny — perhaps fifty percent of the readership will appreciate this.)


  18. @Christopher…I did not say they are a hazard…I said as far as I am concerned. Although so far…hmmm…I believe my feelings could have some credibility…even if just to myself.

    “You all vomit while the men do things.” Things? Is that what u call it?

    And yes! your comment is incredibly hilarious. Cheers!

    And so yet, again, another discussion on a very serious situation that is affecting the health of Barbadians in a big way already, comes to a screeching halt….I guess we will not stop, think, act until it is too late..perhaps one of our children having a baby with no arms or legs…or even a grand-daughter who reaches puberty at the age of 6 and perhaps even has a child at the age of 8 that is totally brain damaged…

    So be it!


  19. @Rosemary Parkinson: “And so yet, again, another discussion on a very serious situation that is affecting the health of Barbadians in a big way already, comes to a screeching halt…

    Perhaps for consideration?

    Must dialogue be immediate?

    Sometimes thought is worthwhile.

    Hmmm….


  20. Yes! David…a real-journalist (meaning highly qualified re education and well-respected through her work) friend of mine who gave up the fight as such and has moved to greener pastures i.e. Vancouver (where she continues doing what she does best in an atmosphere that is to say the least far more receptive) said to me one day when we were discussing Caribbean ‘journalists’ and ‘reporters’….”newspapers no longer understand what journalism or reporting on a real cause is all about because all we have is print media, i.e. print shops. We just print without any real work or dedication going into content. We write what we are told at the end of the day. We do not move out of our box in case we find a can of worms and in opening it, have them crawl out to haunt us. Print shops is all we have.”

    I thought she was exaggerating at the time….


    • @Rosemary

      You can’t give up the fight,. BU remembers well when we started to blog about the issues which should be considered if we continued on a path of unfettered access at our borders.

      There was little or no reaction by mainstream media.

      Gradually as the issue gained momentum it (media) jumped on board.

      They would regurgitate articles from regional press’, cut callers on the talk shows who wanted to expressed opinions and so on.

      Today this matter is discussed without any problem.

      The media message in Barbados is’ controlled’ but when pushed it will follow.

      Continue to push the message and don’t mind Bush Tea :-).


  21. Long before Chernobyl, Europe had its contamination from the various Nucluer ,Biological and Chemical Warfare test sites. Some test sites in North UK, abandoned since the mid 40’s are still off limits because of the lingering danger.And I am sure that many of those deadly sites in Germany ,which were kept secret, probably now are the location of schools and residential developments. Porton Down in Wiltshire , the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory was a place which scared the living daylights out of me.



    • Ronnie Cummins
      Director, Organic Consumers Association
      Posted: December 22, 2010 12:50 PM
      BIO Become a Fan
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      USDA Recommends “Coexistence” with Monsanto: We Say Hell No!

      TAKE ACTION: Stop GMO Contamination of Organic! http://capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroots/issues/alert/?alertid=14469696
      “If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994
      “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications, quoted in the New York Times, October 25, 1998
      After 16 years of non-stop biotech bullying and force-feeding Genetically Engineered or Modified (GE or GM) crops to farm animals and “Frankenfoods” to unwitting consumers, Monsanto has a big problem, or rather several big problems. A growing number of published scientific studies indicate that GE foods pose serious human health threats. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) recently stated that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM advises consumers to avoid GM foods. Before the FDA arbitrarily decided to allow Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into food products in 1994, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can set off serious, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored.
      Federal judges are finally starting to acknowledge what organic farmers and consumers have said all along: uncontrollable and unpredictable GMO crops such as alfalfa and sugar beets spread their mutant genes onto organic farms and into non-GMO varieties and plant relatives, and should be halted. An appeals court recently ruled that consumers have the right to know whether the dairy products they are purchasing are derived from cows injected with Monsanto’s (now Elanco’s) controversial recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), linked to serious animal health problems and increased cancer risk for humans.
      Monsanto’s Roundup, the agro-toxic companion herbicide for millions of acres of GM soybeans, corn, cotton, alfalfa, canola, and sugar beets, is losing market share. Its overuse has spawned a new generation of superweeds that can only be killed with super-toxic herbicides such as 2,4, D and paraquat. Moreover, patented “Roundup Ready” crops require massive amounts of climate destabilizing nitrate fertilizer. Compounding Monsanto’s damage to the environment and climate, rampant Roundup use is literally killing the soil, destroying essential soil microorganisms, degrading the living soil’s ability to capture and sequester CO2, and spreading deadly plant diseases.
      In just one year, Monsanto has moved from being Forbes’ “Company of the Year” to the Worst Stock of the Year. The Biotech Bully of St. Louis has become one of the most hated corporations on Earth.
      Monsanto and their agro-toxic allies are now turning to Obama’s pro-biotech USDA for assistance. They want the organic community to stop suing them and boycotting their products. They want food activists and the OCA to mute our criticisms and stop tarnishing the image of their brands, their seeds, and companies. They want us to resign ourselves to the fact that one-third of U.S. croplands, and one-tenth of global cultivated acreage, are already contaminated with GMOs. That’s why Monsanto recently hired the notorious mercenary firm, Blackwater, to spy on us. That’s why Monsanto has teamed up with the Gates Foundation to bribe government officials and scientists and spread GMOs throughout Africa and the developing world. That’s why the biotech bullies and the Farm Bureau have joined hands with the Obama Administration to preach their new doctrine of “coexistence.”
      “Coexistence” or Cooptation?
      The Agriculture Department is dutifully drafting a comprehensive “coexistence policy” that supposedly will diffuse tensions between conventional (chemical but non-GMO), biotech, and organic farmers. Earlier this week industry and Administration officials met in Washington, D.C. to talk about coexistence. Even though the Organic Consumers Association tried to get into the meeting, we were told we weren’t welcome. The powers that be claim that the OCA doesn’t meet their criteria of being “stakeholders.” The unifying theme in these closed-door meetings is apparently that Monsanto and the other biotech companies will set aside a “compensation” fund to reimburse organic farmers whose crops or fields get contaminated. That way we’ll all be happy. Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dow, and Dupont will continue planting their hazardous crops and force-feeding animals and consumers with GMOs. Organic farmers and companies willing to cooperate will get a little compensation or “hush money.” But of course our response to Monsanto and the USDA’s plan, as you might have guessed, is hell no!
      There can be no such thing as “coexistence” with a reckless and monopolistic industry that harms human health, destroys biodiversity, damages the environment, tortures and poisons animals, destabilizes the climate, and economically devastates the world’s 1.5 billion seed-saving small farmers. Enough talk of coexistence. We need a new regime that empowers consumers, small farmers, and the organic community. We need a new set of rules, based on “truth-in-labeling” and the “precautionary principle” –consumer and farmer-friendly regulations that are basically already in place in the European Union–so that “we the people” can regain control over Monsanto, indentured politicians, and the presently out-of-control technology of genetic engineering.Truth-in-Labeling: Monsanto and the Biotech Industry’s Greatest Fear
      In practical terms coexistence between GMOs and organics in the European Union, the largest agricultural market in the world, is a non-issue. Why? Because there are almost no GMO crops under cultivation, nor consumer food products on supermarket shelves, in the EU, period. And why is this? There are almost no GMOs in Europe, because under EU law, as demanded by consumers, all foods containing GMOs or GMO ingredients must be labeled. Consumers have the freedom to choose or not to consume GMOs, while farmers, food processors, and retailers have (at least legally) the right to lace foods with GMOs, as long as they are labeled. Of course consumers, for the most part, do not want to consume GM Frankenfoods. European farmers and food companies, even junk food purveyors like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart, understand quite well the axiom expressed by the Monsanto executive at the beginning of this article: “If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”
      The biotech industry and Food Inc. are acutely aware of the fact that North American consumers, like their European counterparts, are wary and suspicious of GMO foods. Even without a PhD, consumers understand you don’t want to be part of an involuntary food safety experiment. You don’t want your food safety or environmental sustainability decisions to be made by profit-at-any-cost chemical companies like Monsanto, Dow, or Dupont–the same people who brought you toxic pesticides, Agent Orange, PCBs, and now global warming. Industry leaders are acutely aware of the fact that every single industry or government poll over the last 16 years has shown that 85-95% of American consumers want mandatory labels on GMO foods. Why? So that we can avoid buying them. GMO foods have absolutely no benefits for consumers or the environment, only hazards. This is why Monsanto and their friends in the Bush, Clinton, and Obama administrations have prevented consumer GMO truth-in-labeling laws from getting a public discussion in Congress, much less allowing such legislation to be put up for a vote. Obama (and Hilary Clinton) campaign operatives in 2008 claimed that Obama supported mandatory labels for GMOs, but we haven’t heard a word from the White House on this topic since Inauguration Day.
      Although Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Democrat, Ohio) introduces a bill in every Congress calling for mandatory labeling and safety testing for GMOs, don’t hold your breath for Congress to take a stand for truth-in-labeling and consumers’ right to know what’s in their food. Especially since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the so-called “Citizens United” case gave big corporations and billionaires the right to spend unlimited amounts of money (and remain anonymous, as they do so) to buy elections, our chances of passing federal GMO labeling laws against the wishes of Monsanto and Food Inc. are all but non-existent.
      Therefore we need to shift our focus and go local. We’ve got to concentrate our forces where our leverage and power lie, in the marketplace, at the retail level; pressuring retail food stores to voluntarily label their products; while on the legislative front we must organize a broad coalition to pass mandatory GMO (and CAFO) labeling laws, at the city, county, and state levels.
      Millions Against Monsanto: Launching a Nationwide Truth-in-Labeling Campaign, Starting with Local City Council Ordinances or Ballot Initiatives
      Early in 2011 the Organic Consumers Association, joined by our consumer, farmer, environmental, and labor allies, plans to launch a nationwide campaign to stop Monsanto and the Biotech Bullies from force-feeding unlabeled GMOs to animals and humans. Utilizing scientific data, legal precedent, and consumer power the OCA and our local coalitions will educate and mobilize at the grassroots level to pressure retailers to implement “truth-in-labeling” practices; while simultaneously organizing a critical mass to pass mandatory local and state truth-in-labeling ordinances or ballot initiatives similar to labeling laws already in effect for country of origin, irradiated food, allergens, and carcinogens. If local government bodies refuse to take action, wherever possible we will gather petition signatures and place these truth-in-labeling initiatives directly on the ballot in 2011 or 2012. Stay tuned for details, but please send an email to: information@organicconsumers.org if you’re interesting in helping organize a truth-in-labeling campaign in your local community. Millions Against Monsanto. Power to the people!___________________________________________________________________
      Ronnie Cummins is the International Director of the Organic Consumers Association.

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