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‘Science’ That’s on the Take vs. Science That Takes Them on

Organic Lifestyle Comments (0)

The New York Times, in an article published on December 31, 2016, documents how scientists are paid by agribusiness corporations for “science” that supports the companies’ agendas. Those of us working in this field of journalism have known about this for decades, but the scope of agribusiness’s propaganda campaigns seldom reaches the general public. The following three paragraphs are from the Times’ article.

 

“The corporate use of academia has been documented in fields like soft drinks and pharmaceuticals. But it is rare for an academic to provide an insider’s view of the relationships being forged with corporations, and the expectations that accompany them.

 

“A review of Syngenta’s strategy shows that Dr. Cresswell’s experience (Dr. James Cresswell of the University of Exeter in England) fits in with practices used by American competitors like Monsanto and across the agrochemical industry. Scientists deliver outcomes favorable to companies, while university research departments court corporate support. Universities and regulators sacrifice full autonomy by signing confidentiality agreements. And academics sometimes double as paid consultants.

 

“In Britain, Syngenta has built a network of academics and regulators, even recruiting the leading government scientist on the bee issue. In the United States, Syngenta pays academics like James W. Simpkins of West Virginia University, whose work has helped validate the safety of its products. Not only has Dr. Simpkins’s research been funded by Syngenta, he is also a $250-an-hour consultant for the company. And he partnered with a Syngenta executive in a consulting venture, emails obtained by The New York Times show.”

 

The article is a scathing indictment of corporate-scientific collusion to excuse corporate greed and excesses. To read the full article, visit the Times’ home page and search for the article headlined, Scientists Loved and Loathed by an Agrochemical Giant.

 

***

 

‘FREE TO PROSPER’ MEANS FREE TO LOOT AND EXPLOIT

 

The following link will take you to a report called “Free to Prosper,” written by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It’s the Trumpist agenda for the next Congress, and if you read through it, you will be horrified. Read especially Section 8 on “Food, Drugs, and Consumer Freedom.” Thanks to Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association for bringing this to light. https://www.organicconsumers.org/sites/default/files/cei_agenda_for_congress_2017_-_final.pdf

 

***

 

SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE MERGER OF BAYER AND MONSANTO

 

Last month shareholders approved the merger of Bayer the Bee-Slayer and Monsanto the Butterfly-Killer. The pesticide giants are on track to merge into one mega-corporation. The merger still has to get through the Justice Department’s scrutiny. And state Attorneys General are pushing for an investigation, according to Friends of the Earth.

 

Senator Bernie Sanders, farmers across the country and people like you are already speaking out against the merger. If this merger goes through, it would be disastrous for pollinators, people and the planet. We could have even MORE crops soaked in dangerous pesticides like bee-killing neonics or glyphosate — key drivers of bee and monarch declines.

 

What’s more, the new corporation would be the biggest seed and pesticide company in the world — giving it unprecedented clout over our food supply.

 

This merger could also set a precedent for other mega-mergers, like Dow merging with Dupont and ChemChina merging with Syngenta. If these six companies consolidated into three, they would control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market. The good news is, cities and states across the country are passing laws to restrict bee-killing neonics.

 

Meanwhile, the FDA announced it will start testing for glyphosate in our food — which will shine a light on how much this hazardous pesticide is getting into our food supply and endangering our health. Senator Merkley introduced a bill in Congress to create more pesticide-free habitat for bees and butterflies. And garden retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s are helping rapidly shift the gardening industry away from neonics.

But if this merger goes through, Monsanto and Bayer combined will have even more power and money to block our efforts. The new corporation could put even more pressure on our government to delay regulatory action on toxic chemicals, especially under Trump’s corporate-friendly cabinet heads.

 

***

 

CANNABIS CURBS LUNG CANCER GROWTH IN MICE, STUDY SHOWS

 

A Harvard University study from 2007, which remains the most comprehensive ever released on THC’s potential to combat tumors, found that in just three weeks, doses of THC were able to cut lung cancer tumor growth in half in mice subjects, and were able to reduce cancer lesions by even more.

 

Harvard researchers tested THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found naturally in cannabis) on cancer cells in labs, and followed that up by studying mice subjects.

 

The lab demonstration found that doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cancer cells. Following the lab test, researchers dosed mice – which were implanted with human lung cancer cells – with THC, and found that in just three weeks, tumors were reduced in both size and weight by roughly 50 percent compared to a control group. Cancer lesions on the lungs were also reduced-–by nearly 60 percent–and there was as a significant reduction in “protein markers” associated with cancer progression.

 

Researchers theorize that THC had such a positive effect on combating tumors because it activates molecules that arrest the cell cycle, and may also interfere with the processes of angiogenesis and vascularization, which lead to cancer growth.

 

Over six years since its original release, this study remains one of the most important cannabis-related studies ever released.

 

***

 

DESPITE PLEDGES TO CUT BACK, FARMS STILL USING ANTIBIOTICS

 

It’s a continuing paradox of the meat industry. Every year, more restaurants and food companies announce that they will sell only meat produced with minimal or no use of antibiotics. And every year, despite those pledges, more antibiotics are administered to the nation’s swine, cattle and poultry, according to Dan Charles, reporting on NPR.

 

The latest figures, released last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, show antibiotic sales for use on farm animals increased by 1 percent in 2015, compared to the previous year. The increase was slightly greater – 2 percent — for antibiotics used as human medicine.

 

The FDA and other public health agencies have been pushing farmers to rely less on these drugs. Heavy use of antibiotics both in human medicine and in agriculture has led to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, complicating the task of treating many infections.

 

The poultry industry has made the most ambitious promises to reduce antibiotic use. Perdue Farms says that 95 percent of its chickens already are raised with no antibiotics at all. Tyson Foods, the largest producer, has announced that it is “striving” to end the use of antibiotics that also are used in human medicine. Tyson will continue to deploy a class of antibiotics called ionophores, which can’t be used on humans. The new report, however, doesn’t shed any light on the impact of these moves, because it doesn’t show how much of each drug is used on cattle, swine or poultry.

 

In a statement, David Wallinga, from the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that “this report further underscores how urgently we need more and stronger government action” to reduce antibiotic use.

 

Some species of bacteria found on cattle have shown increasing levels of resistance to ciprofloxacin, and turkey samples showed a big increase in Salmonella that’s resistant to several different drugs.

 

***

 

 

 

Monsanto and the biotechnology industry have a goal. They want to dominate the worlds’ food supply-–for their profit. Regardless of the cost to your health, the environment, family farmers, or the future of biodiversity on our planet.

 

And as the new administration takes shape in the US, it seems pretty clear that we can’t count on our government to protect us any time soon. For example, Trump has tapped Congressman Mike Pompeo to be the head of the CIA.

 

Pompeo was Monsanto’s man on the Hill. He authored what became known as the DARK (Deny Americans’ Right to Know) act, which made it illegal for states to require labeling of GMOs.

 

###




‘Science’ That’s on the Take vs. Science That Takes Them on

Organic Lifestyle Comments (0)

The New York Times, in an article published on December 31, 2016, documents how scientists are paid by agribusiness corporations for “science” that supports the companies’ agendas. Those of us The New York Times, in an article published on December 31, 2016, documents how scientists are paid by agribusiness corporations for “science” that supports the companies’ agendas. Those of us working in this field of journalism have known about this for decades, but the scope of agribusiness’s propaganda campaigns seldom reaches the general public. The following three paragraphs are from the Times’ article, followed by a link to the full story.

“The corporate use of academia has been documented in fields like soft drinks and pharmaceuticals. But it is rare for an academic to provide an insider’s view of the relationships being forged with corporations, and the expectations that accompany them.

“A review of Syngenta’s strategy shows that Dr. Cresswell’s experience (Dr. James Cresswell of the University of Exeter in England) fits in with practices used by American competitors like Monsanto and across the agrochemical industry. Scientists deliver outcomes favorable to companies, while university research departments court corporate support. Universities and regulators sacrifice full autonomy by signing confidentiality agreements. And academics sometimes double as paid consultants.

“In Britain, Syngenta has built a network of academics and regulators, even recruiting the leading government scientist on the bee issue. In the United States, Syngenta pays academics like James W. Simpkins of West Virginia University, whose work has helped validate the safety of its products. Not only has Dr. Simpkins’s research been funded by Syngenta, he is also a $250-an-hour consultant for the company. And he partnered with a Syngenta executive in a consulting venture, emails obtained by The New York Times show.”

The article is a scathing indictment of corporate-scientific collusion to excuse corporate greed and excesses.

***

‘FREE TO PROSPER’ MEANS FREE TO LOOT AND EXPLOIT

The following link will take you to a report called “Free to Prosper,” written by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It’s the Trumpist agenda for the next Congress, and if you read through it, you will be horrified. Read especially Section 8 on “Food, Drugs, and Consumer Freedom.” Thanks to Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association for bringing this to light. https://www.organicconsumers.org/sites/default/files/cei_agenda_for_congress_2017_-_final.pdf

***

SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE MERGER OF BAYER AND MONSANTO

Last month shareholders approved the merger of Bayer the Bee-Slayer and Monsanto the Butterfly-Killer. The pesticide giants are on track to merge into one mega-corporation. The merger still has to get through the Justice Department’s scrutiny. And state Attorneys General are pushing for an investigation, according to Friends of the Earth.

Senator Bernie Sanders, farmers across the country and people like you are already speaking out against the merger. If this merger goes through, it would be disastrous for pollinators, people and the planet. We could have even MORE crops soaked in dangerous pesticides like bee-killing neonics or glyphosate — key drivers of bee and monarch declines.

What’s more, the new corporation would be the biggest seed and pesticide company in the world — giving it unprecedented clout over our food supply.

This merger could also set a precedent for other mega-mergers, like Dow merging with Dupont and ChemChina merging with Syngenta. If these six companies consolidated into three, they would control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market. The good news is, cities and states across the country are passing laws to restrict bee-killing neonics.

Meanwhile, the FDA announced it will start testing for glyphosate in our food — which will shine a light on how much this hazardous pesticide is getting into our food supply and endangering our health. Senator Merkley introduced a bill in Congress to create more pesticide-free habitat for bees and butterflies. And garden retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s are helping rapidly shift the gardening industry away from neonics.
But if this merger goes through, Monsanto and Bayer combined will have even more power and money to block our efforts. The new corporation could put even more pressure on our government to delay regulatory action on toxic chemicals, especially under Trump’s corporate-friendly cabinet heads.

***

CANNABIS CURBS LUNG CANCER GROWTH IN MICE, STUDY SHOWS

A Harvard University study from 2007, which remains the most comprehensive ever released on THC’s potential to combat tumors, found that in just three weeks, doses of THC were able to cut lung cancer tumor growth in half in mice subjects, and were able to reduce cancer lesions by even more.

Harvard researchers tested THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found naturally in cannabis) on cancer cells in labs, and followed that up by studying mice subjects.

The lab demonstration found that doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cancer cells. Following the lab test, researchers dosed mice – which were implanted with human lung cancer cells – with THC, and found that in just three weeks, tumors were reduced in both size and weight by roughly 50 percent compared to a control group. Cancer lesions on the lungs were also reduced-–by nearly 60 percent–and there was as a significant reduction in “protein markers” associated with cancer progression.

Researchers theorize that THC had such a positive effect on combating tumors because it activates molecules that arrest the cell cycle, and may also interfere with the processes of angiogenesis and vascularization, which lead to cancer growth.

Over six years since its original release, this study remains one of the most important cannabis-related studies ever released.

***

DESPITE PLEDGES TO CUT BACK, FARMS STILL USING ANTIBIOTICS

It’s a continuing paradox of the meat industry. Every year, more restaurants and food companies announce that they will sell only meat produced with minimal or no use of antibiotics. And every year, despite those pledges, more antibiotics are administered to the nation’s swine, cattle and poultry, according to Dan Charles, reporting on NPR.

The latest figures, released last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, show antibiotic sales for use on farm animals increased by 1 percent in 2015, compared to the previous year. The increase was slightly greater – 2 percent — for antibiotics used as human medicine.

The FDA and other public health agencies have been pushing farmers to rely less on these drugs. Heavy use of antibiotics both in human medicine and in agriculture has led to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, complicating the task of treating many infections.

The poultry industry has made the most ambitious promises to reduce antibiotic use. Perdue Farms says that 95 percent of its chickens already are raised with no antibiotics at all. Tyson Foods, the largest producer, has announced that it is “striving” to end the use of antibiotics that also are used in human medicine. Tyson will continue to deploy a class of antibiotics called ionophores, which can’t be used on humans. The new report, however, doesn’t shed any light on the impact of these moves, because it doesn’t show how much of each drug is used on cattle, swine or poultry.

In a statement, David Wallinga, from the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that “this report further underscores how urgently we need more and stronger government action” to reduce antibiotic use.

Some species of bacteria found on cattle have shown increasing levels of resistance to ciprofloxacin, and turkey samples showed a big increase in Salmonella that’s resistant to several different drugs.

***

Monsanto and the biotechnology industry have a goal. They want to dominate the worlds’ food supply-–for their profit. Regardless of the cost to your health, the environment, family farmers, or the future of biodiversity on our planet.

And as the new administration takes shape in the US, it seems pretty clear that we can’t count on our government to protect us any time soon. For example, Trump has tapped Congressman Mike Pompeo to be the head of the CIA.

Pompeo was Monsanto’s man on the Hill. He authored what became known as the DARK (Deny Americans’ Right to Know) act, which made it illegal for states to require labeling of GMOs.

###
working in this field of journalism have known about this for decades, but the scope of agribusiness’s propaganda campaigns seldom reaches the general public. The following three paragraphs are from the Times’ article, followed by a link to the full story.

“The corporate use of academia has been documented in fields like soft drinks and pharmaceuticals. But it is rare for an academic to provide an insider’s view of the relationships being forged with corporations, and the expectations that accompany them.

“A review of Syngenta’s strategy shows that Dr. Cresswell’s experience (Dr. James Cresswell of the University of Exeter in England) fits in with practices used by American competitors like Monsanto and across the agrochemical industry. Scientists deliver outcomes favorable to companies, while university research departments court corporate support. Universities and regulators sacrifice full autonomy by signing confidentiality agreements. And academics sometimes double as paid consultants.

“In Britain, Syngenta has built a network of academics and regulators, even recruiting the leading government scientist on the bee issue. In the United States, Syngenta pays academics like James W. Simpkins of West Virginia University, whose work has helped validate the safety of its products. Not only has Dr. Simpkins’s research been funded by Syngenta, he is also a $250-an-hour consultant for the company. And he partnered with a Syngenta executive in a consulting venture, emails obtained by The New York Times show.”

The article is a scathing indictment of corporate-scientific collusion to excuse corporate greed and excesses. To read the full article, paste this address into your browser:

***

‘FREE TO PROSPER’ MEANS FREE TO LOOT AND EXPLOIT

The following link will take you to a report called “Free to Prosper,” written by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It’s the Trumpist agenda for the next Congress, and if you read through it, you will be horrified. Read especially Section 8 on “Food, Drugs, and Consumer Freedom.” Thanks to Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association for bringing this to light. https://www.organicconsumers.org/sites/default/files/cei_agenda_for_congress_2017_-_final.pdf

***

SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE MERGER OF BAYER AND MONSANTO

Last month shareholders approved the merger of Bayer the Bee-Slayer and Monsanto the Butterfly-Killer. The pesticide giants are on track to merge into one mega-corporation. The merger still has to get through the Justice Department’s scrutiny. And state Attorneys General are pushing for an investigation, according to Friends of the Earth.

Senator Bernie Sanders, farmers across the country and people like you are already speaking out against the merger. If this merger goes through, it would be disastrous for pollinators, people and the planet. We could have even MORE crops soaked in dangerous pesticides like bee-killing neonics or glyphosate — key drivers of bee and monarch declines.

What’s more, the new corporation would be the biggest seed and pesticide company in the world — giving it unprecedented clout over our food supply.

This merger could also set a precedent for other mega-mergers, like Dow merging with Dupont and ChemChina merging with Syngenta. If these six companies consolidated into three, they would control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market. The good news is, cities and states across the country are passing laws to restrict bee-killing neonics.

Meanwhile, the FDA announced it will start testing for glyphosate in our food — which will shine a light on how much this hazardous pesticide is getting into our food supply and endangering our health. Senator Merkley introduced a bill in Congress to create more pesticide-free habitat for bees and butterflies. And garden retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s are helping rapidly shift the gardening industry away from neonics.
But if this merger goes through, Monsanto and Bayer combined will have even more power and money to block our efforts. The new corporation could put even more pressure on our government to delay regulatory action on toxic chemicals, especially under Trump’s corporate-friendly cabinet heads.

***

CANNABIS CURBS LUNG CANCER GROWTH IN MICE, STUDY SHOWS

A Harvard University study from 2007, which remains the most comprehensive ever released on THC’s potential to combat tumors, found that in just three weeks, doses of THC were able to cut lung cancer tumor growth in half in mice subjects, and were able to reduce cancer lesions by even more.

Harvard researchers tested THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found naturally in cannabis) on cancer cells in labs, and followed that up by studying mice subjects.

The lab demonstration found that doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cancer cells. Following the lab test, researchers dosed mice – which were implanted with human lung cancer cells – with THC, and found that in just three weeks, tumors were reduced in both size and weight by roughly 50 percent compared to a control group. Cancer lesions on the lungs were also reduced-–by nearly 60 percent–and there was as a significant reduction in “protein markers” associated with cancer progression.

Researchers theorize that THC had such a positive effect on combating tumors because it activates molecules that arrest the cell cycle, and may also interfere with the processes of angiogenesis and vascularization, which lead to cancer growth.

Over six years since its original release, this study remains one of the most important cannabis-related studies ever released.

***

DESPITE PLEDGES TO CUT BACK, FARMS STILL USING ANTIBIOTICS

It’s a continuing paradox of the meat industry. Every year, more restaurants and food companies announce that they will sell only meat produced with minimal or no use of antibiotics. And every year, despite those pledges, more antibiotics are administered to the nation’s swine, cattle and poultry, according to Dan Charles, reporting on NPR.

The latest figures, released last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, show antibiotic sales for use on farm animals increased by 1 percent in 2015, compared to the previous year. The increase was slightly greater – 2 percent — for antibiotics used as human medicine.

The FDA and other public health agencies have been pushing farmers to rely less on these drugs. Heavy use of antibiotics both in human medicine and in agriculture has led to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, complicating the task of treating many infections.

The poultry industry has made the most ambitious promises to reduce antibiotic use. Perdue Farms says that 95 percent of its chickens already are raised with no antibiotics at all. Tyson Foods, the largest producer, has announced that it is “striving” to end the use of antibiotics that also are used in human medicine. Tyson will continue to deploy a class of antibiotics called ionophores, which can’t be used on humans. The new report, however, doesn’t shed any light on the impact of these moves, because it doesn’t show how much of each drug is used on cattle, swine or poultry.

In a statement, David Wallinga, from the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that “this report further underscores how urgently we need more and stronger government action” to reduce antibiotic use.

Some species of bacteria found on cattle have shown increasing levels of resistance to ciprofloxacin, and turkey samples showed a big increase in Salmonella that’s resistant to several different drugs.

***

Monsanto and the biotechnology industry have a goal. They want to dominate the worlds’ food supply-–for their profit. Regardless of the cost to your health, the environment, family farmers, or the future of biodiversity on our planet.

And as the new administration takes shape in the US, it seems pretty clear that we can’t count on our government to protect us any time soon. For example, Trump has tapped Congressman Mike Pompeo to be the head of the CIA.

Pompeo was Monsanto’s man on the Hill. He authored what became known as the DARK (Deny Americans’ Right to Know) act, which made it illegal for states to require labeling of GMOs.

###




‘Science’ That’s on the Take vs. Science That Takes Them on

Organic Lifestyle Comments (0)

The New York Times, in an article published on December 31, 2016, documents how scientists are paid by agribusiness corporations for “science” that supports the companies’ agendas. Those of us working in this field of journalism have known about this for decades, but the scope of agribusiness’s propaganda campaigns seldom reaches the general public. The following three paragraphs are from the Times’ article, followed by a link to the full story.

“The corporate use of academia has been documented in fields like soft drinks and pharmaceuticals. But it is rare for an academic to provide an insider’s view of the relationships being forged with corporations, and the expectations that accompany them.

“A review of Syngenta’s strategy shows that Dr. Cresswell’s experience (Dr. James Cresswell of the University of Exeter in England) fits in with practices used by American competitors like Monsanto and across the agrochemical industry. Scientists deliver outcomes favorable to companies, while university research departments court corporate support. Universities and regulators sacrifice full autonomy by signing confidentiality agreements. And academics sometimes double as paid consultants.

“In Britain, Syngenta has built a network of academics and regulators, even recruiting the leading government scientist on the bee issue. In the United States, Syngenta pays academics like James W. Simpkins of West Virginia University, whose work has helped validate the safety of its products. Not only has Dr. Simpkins’s research been funded by Syngenta, he is also a $250-an-hour consultant for the company. And he partnered with a Syngenta executive in a consulting venture, emails obtained by The New York Times show.”

The article is a scathing indictment of corporate-scientific collusion to excuse corporate greed and excesses. To read the full article, paste this address into your browser:

***

‘FREE TO PROSPER’ MEANS FREE TO LOOT AND EXPLOIT

The following link will take you to a report called “Free to Prosper,” written by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It’s the Trumpist agenda for the next Congress, and if you read through it, you will be horrified. Read especially Section 8 on “Food, Drugs, and Consumer Freedom.” Thanks to Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association for bringing this to light. https://www.organicconsumers.org/sites/default/files/cei_agenda_for_congress_2017_-_final.pdf

***

SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE MERGER OF BAYER AND MONSANTO

Last month shareholders approved the merger of Bayer the Bee-Slayer and Monsanto the Butterfly-Killer. The pesticide giants are on track to merge into one mega-corporation. The merger still has to get through the Justice Department’s scrutiny. And state Attorneys General are pushing for an investigation, according to Friends of the Earth.

Senator Bernie Sanders, farmers across the country and people like you are already speaking out against the merger. If this merger goes through, it would be disastrous for pollinators, people and the planet. We could have even MORE crops soaked in dangerous pesticides like bee-killing neonics or glyphosate — key drivers of bee and monarch declines.

What’s more, the new corporation would be the biggest seed and pesticide company in the world — giving it unprecedented clout over our food supply.

This merger could also set a precedent for other mega-mergers, like Dow merging with Dupont and ChemChina merging with Syngenta. If these six companies consolidated into three, they would control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market. The good news is, cities and states across the country are passing laws to restrict bee-killing neonics.

Meanwhile, the FDA announced it will start testing for glyphosate in our food — which will shine a light on how much this hazardous pesticide is getting into our food supply and endangering our health. Senator Merkley introduced a bill in Congress to create more pesticide-free habitat for bees and butterflies. And garden retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s are helping rapidly shift the gardening industry away from neonics.
But if this merger goes through, Monsanto and Bayer combined will have even more power and money to block our efforts. The new corporation could put even more pressure on our government to delay regulatory action on toxic chemicals, especially under Trump’s corporate-friendly cabinet heads.

***

CANNABIS CURBS LUNG CANCER GROWTH IN MICE, STUDY SHOWS

A Harvard University study from 2007, which remains the most comprehensive ever released on THC’s potential to combat tumors, found that in just three weeks, doses of THC were able to cut lung cancer tumor growth in half in mice subjects, and were able to reduce cancer lesions by even more.

Harvard researchers tested THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found naturally in cannabis) on cancer cells in labs, and followed that up by studying mice subjects.

The lab demonstration found that doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cancer cells. Following the lab test, researchers dosed mice – which were implanted with human lung cancer cells – with THC, and found that in just three weeks, tumors were reduced in both size and weight by roughly 50 percent compared to a control group. Cancer lesions on the lungs were also reduced-–by nearly 60 percent–and there was as a significant reduction in “protein markers” associated with cancer progression.

Researchers theorize that THC had such a positive effect on combating tumors because it activates molecules that arrest the cell cycle, and may also interfere with the processes of angiogenesis and vascularization, which lead to cancer growth.

Over six years since its original release, this study remains one of the most important cannabis-related studies ever released.

***

DESPITE PLEDGES TO CUT BACK, FARMS STILL USING ANTIBIOTICS

It’s a continuing paradox of the meat industry. Every year, more restaurants and food companies announce that they will sell only meat produced with minimal or no use of antibiotics. And every year, despite those pledges, more antibiotics are administered to the nation’s swine, cattle and poultry, according to Dan Charles, reporting on NPR.

The latest figures, released last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, show antibiotic sales for use on farm animals increased by 1 percent in 2015, compared to the previous year. The increase was slightly greater – 2 percent — for antibiotics used as human medicine.

The FDA and other public health agencies have been pushing farmers to rely less on these drugs. Heavy use of antibiotics both in human medicine and in agriculture has led to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, complicating the task of treating many infections.

The poultry industry has made the most ambitious promises to reduce antibiotic use. Perdue Farms says that 95 percent of its chickens already are raised with no antibiotics at all. Tyson Foods, the largest producer, has announced that it is “striving” to end the use of antibiotics that also are used in human medicine. Tyson will continue to deploy a class of antibiotics called ionophores, which can’t be used on humans. The new report, however, doesn’t shed any light on the impact of these moves, because it doesn’t show how much of each drug is used on cattle, swine or poultry.

In a statement, David Wallinga, from the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that “this report further underscores how urgently we need more and stronger government action” to reduce antibiotic use.

Some species of bacteria found on cattle have shown increasing levels of resistance to ciprofloxacin, and turkey samples showed a big increase in Salmonella that’s resistant to several different drugs.

*The New York Times, in an article published on December 31, 2016, documents how scientists are paid by agribusiness corporations for “science” that supports the companies’ agendas. Those of us working in this field of journalism have known about this for decades, but the scope of agribusiness’s propaganda campaigns seldom reaches the general public. The following three paragraphs are from the Times’ article, followed by a link to the full story.

“The corporate use of academia has been documented in fields like soft drinks and pharmaceuticals. But it is rare for an academic to provide an insider’s view of the relationships being forged with corporations, and the expectations that accompany them.

“A review of Syngenta’s strategy shows that Dr. Cresswell’s experience (Dr. James Cresswell of the University of Exeter in England) fits in with practices used by American competitors like Monsanto and across the agrochemical industry. Scientists deliver outcomes favorable to companies, while university research departments court corporate support. Universities and regulators sacrifice full autonomy by signing confidentiality agreements. And academics sometimes double as paid consultants.

“In Britain, Syngenta has built a network of academics and regulators, even recruiting the leading government scientist on the bee issue. In the United States, Syngenta pays academics like James W. Simpkins of West Virginia University, whose work has helped validate the safety of its products. Not only has Dr. Simpkins’s research been funded by Syngenta, he is also a $250-an-hour consultant for the company. And he partnered with a Syngenta executive in a consulting venture, emails obtained by The New York Times show.”

The article is a scathing indictment of corporate-scientific collusion to excuse corporate greed and excesses. To read the full article, paste this address into your browser:

***

‘FREE TO PROSPER’ MEANS FREE TO LOOT AND EXPLOIT

The following link will take you to a report called “Free to Prosper,” written by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It’s the Trumpist agenda for the next Congress, and if you read through it, you will be horrified. Read especially Section 8 on “Food, Drugs, and Consumer Freedom.” Thanks to Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association for bringing this to light. https://www.organicconsumers.org/sites/default/files/cei_agenda_for_congress_2017_-_final.pdf

***

SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE MERGER OF BAYER AND MONSANTO

Last month shareholders approved the merger of Bayer the Bee-Slayer and Monsanto the Butterfly-Killer. The pesticide giants are on track to merge into one mega-corporation. The merger still has to get through the Justice Department’s scrutiny. And state Attorneys General are pushing for an investigation, according to Friends of the Earth.

Senator Bernie Sanders, farmers across the country and people like you are already speaking out against the merger. If this merger goes through, it would be disastrous for pollinators, people and the planet. We could have even MORE crops soaked in dangerous pesticides like bee-killing neonics or glyphosate — key drivers of bee and monarch declines.

What’s more, the new corporation would be the biggest seed and pesticide company in the world — giving it unprecedented clout over our food supply.

This merger could also set a precedent for other mega-mergers, like Dow merging with Dupont and ChemChina merging with Syngenta. If these six companies consolidated into three, they would control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market. The good news is, cities and states across the country are passing laws to restrict bee-killing neonics.

Meanwhile, the FDA announced it will start testing for glyphosate in our food — which will shine a light on how much this hazardous pesticide is getting into our food supply and endangering our health. Senator Merkley introduced a bill in Congress to create more pesticide-free habitat for bees and butterflies. And garden retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s are helping rapidly shift the gardening industry away from neonics.
But if this merger goes through, Monsanto and Bayer combined will have even more power and money to block our efforts. The new corporation could put even more pressure on our government to delay regulatory action on toxic chemicals, especially under Trump’s corporate-friendly cabinet heads.

***

CANNABIS CURBS LUNG CANCER GROWTH IN MICE, STUDY SHOWS

A Harvard University study from 2007, which remains the most comprehensive ever released on THC’s potential to combat tumors, found that in just three weeks, doses of THC were able to cut lung cancer tumor growth in half in mice subjects, and were able to reduce cancer lesions by even more.

Harvard researchers tested THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found naturally in cannabis) on cancer cells in labs, and followed that up by studying mice subjects.

The lab demonstration found that doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cancer cells. Following the lab test, researchers dosed mice – which were implanted with human lung cancer cells – with THC, and found that in just three weeks, tumors were reduced in both size and weight by roughly 50 percent compared to a control group. Cancer lesions on the lungs were also reduced-–by nearly 60 percent–and there was as a significant reduction in “protein markers” associated with cancer progression.

Researchers theorize that THC had such a positive effect on combating tumors because it activates molecules that arrest the cell cycle, and may also interfere with the processes of angiogenesis and vascularization, which lead to cancer growth.

Over six years since its original release, this study remains one of the most important cannabis-related studies ever released.

***

DESPITE PLEDGES TO CUT BACK, FARMS STILL USING ANTIBIOTICS

It’s a continuing paradox of the meat industry. Every year, more restaurants and food companies announce that they will sell only meat produced with minimal or no use of antibiotics. And every year, despite those pledges, more antibiotics are administered to the nation’s swine, cattle and poultry, according to Dan Charles, reporting on NPR.

The latest figures, released last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, show antibiotic sales for use on farm animals increased by 1 percent in 2015, compared to the previous year. The increase was slightly greater – 2 percent — for antibiotics used as human medicine.

The FDA and other public health agencies have been pushing farmers to rely less on these drugs. Heavy use of antibiotics both in human medicine and in agriculture has led to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, complicating the task of treating many infections.

The poultry industry has made the most ambitious promises to reduce antibiotic use. Perdue Farms says that 95 percent of its chickens already are raised with no antibiotics at all. Tyson Foods, the largest producer, has announced that it is “striving” to end the use of antibiotics that also are used in human medicine. Tyson will continue to deploy a class of antibiotics called ionophores, which can’t be used on humans. The new report, however, doesn’t shed any light on the impact of these moves, because it doesn’t show how much of each drug is used on cattle, swine or poultry.

In a statement, David Wallinga, from the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that “this report further underscores how urgently we need more and stronger government action” to reduce antibiotic use.

Some species of bacteria found on cattle have shown increasing levels of resistance to ciprofloxacin, and turkey samples showed a big increase in Salmonella that’s resistant to several different drugs.

***

MONSANTO’S CONGRESSMAN NOW TO HEAD THE CIA

Monsanto and the biotechnology industry have a goal. They want to dominate the worlds’ food supply-–for their profit. Regardless of the cost to your health, the environment, family farmers, or the future of biodiversity on our planet.

And as the new administration takes shape in the US, it seems pretty clear that we can’t count on our government to protect us any time soon. For example, Trump has tapped Congressman Mike Pompeo to be the head of the CIA.

Pompeo was Monsanto’s man on the Hill. He authored what became known as the DARK (Deny Americans’ Right to Know) act, which made it illegal for states to require labeling of GMOs.

###
 




Chemical Agriculture Gets Its Champion

Organic Lifestyle Comments (0)

The list of corporate cronies who will soon run the new, sad reality show in Washington, DC, gets uglier by the day, writes Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association.

Here’s one appointment that may have escaped your notice, Cummins reports. Under the incoming Trump Administration, the CEO of the company that brought us Napalm, Agent Orange, Chlorpyrifos, 2,4-D, and, along with Monsanto, GMO crops, will head up the “American Manufacturing Council.”

It’s a safe bet that Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical, won’t care one whit about how much poison his company unleashes on you and your food. On December 10, President-Elect Donald Trump pulled Dow’s Liveris up on stage at the Deltaplex Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., to announce that the head of the chemical giant will lead Trump’s “American Manufacturing Council.”

As the two men “showered each other with praise,” said a Wall Street Journal report, Liveris reportedly told the crowd, “I tingle with pride listening to you.”

In a list of talking points drafted by Trump’s National Advisory Committee for Agriculture and Rural Issues, this was talking point #10: The Trump-Pence administration will use the best available science to determine appropriate regulations for the food and agriculture sector; agriculture will NOT be regulated based upon the latest trend on social media.

With Dow’s CEO in charge of the “American Manufacturing Council,” there’s no doubt that the so-called “best available science” will be as pro-poison and pro-GMO as it gets.
“We’ve got ideas and we’ve got plans,” Liveris told the cheering crowd in Grand Rapids.

Thanks for pointing this out, Ronnie. I haven’t read a word about it in any other source.

***

EPA PANEL TO DETERMINE GLYPHOSATE’S CARCINOGENICITY

Stefanie Spear of EcoWatch reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) to evaluate “the carcinogenic potential of the herbicide glyphosate,” the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.

For years, Monsanto has claimed that glyphosate is safe, advertising at one time that Roundup was “safer than table salt” and “practically non-toxic.”

However, many studies contradict Monsanto’s assertions. In March, 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, concluded that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” Then in July, 2016, an IARC scientist, Dr. Kurt Straif, defended the agency’s assessment that glyphosate probably causes cancer in humans. Dr. Straif stated that:

“Our evaluation was a review of all the published scientific literature on glyphosate and this was done by the world’s best experts on the topic that in addition don’t have any conflicts of interest that could bias their assessment.

“They concluded that, yes, glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans based on three strings of evidence, that is clear evidence of cancer in experimental animals, limited evidence for cancer for humans from real-world exposures, of exposed farmers, and also strong evidence that it can damage the genes from any kind of other toxicological studies.”

The SAP meetings now taking place were originally scheduled for mid-October, but the EPA postponed them only a few of days before they were to begin due to “changes in the availability of experts for the peer review panel.”

According to Carey Gillam, research director for U.S. Right to Know, the EPA’s decision to postpone the meetings came after an intense lobbying campaign led by CropLife America, which represents the interests of Monsanto and other agricultural businesses. CropLife initially fought to keep the SAP meetings from happening at all, then said if the meetings were to be held, “any person who has publicly expressed an opinion regarding the carcinogenicity of glyphosate” should be excluded from participating.

In a letter to the EPA, CropLife singled out epidemiologist Dr. Peter Infante, who the lobbying firm felt should be “replaced with an epidemiologist without such patent bias.” As the only epidemiologist slated to be on the panel, CropLife felt that Dr. Infante may have had enhanced influence on the epidemiological evaluation on glyphosate.

Dr. Infante has testified on behalf of plaintiffs suing Monsanto over chemical exposure. Nonetheless, Dr. Infante is one of the leading experts in his field, having spent the better part of a storied career protecting the public from harmful chemicals.

Dr. Infante spent 24 years working for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, where he determined cancer risks to those working on developing toxic chemicals, including arsenic, asbestos and formaldehyde. He has also served as an expert epidemiology consultant for a number of world bodies, including the World Trade Organization and the EPA.

CropLife’s letter to the EPA was sent two days before the agency announced that the glyphosate meetings would be postponed. Many accused the EPA of kowtowing to lobbyists and the businesses they represent. The accusations only grew louder when Dr. Infante’s name was no longer on the list of panelists scheduled for the December meetings.

Dr. Infante told Delta FarmPress that he was “mystified” by the EPA’s decision to remove him from the meetings. “I didn’t choose to leave the panel,” he said. “No … I was removed from the panel. I’m totally mystified by it.”

The EPA’s move was also surprising to environmental advocacy groups, who say it is highly unusual for the agency to remove a panelist from a Scientific Advisory Panel.

“The industry wants to say that our own government scientists, the top ones in their fields, aren’t good enough for these panels,” said Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist at the Consumers Union, after the SAP meetings were postponed in October. “If the EPA wants to add extra epidemiologists that is great but why didn’t they do it before? They are doing this because of pressure from industry.”

According to Gillam, “the delay and the maneuvering by industry to influence panel participation does little to bolster consumer confidence for the likelihood of an objective outcome.”

The EPA said it will issue a risk assessment for glyphosate by spring of 2017.

Jeff Cox adds: With Trump’s choice of climate denier Scott Pruitt as the next administrator of the EPA starting January 20, and with Trump’s stated goal of cutting EPA’s budget by 80 percent, it seems certain that glyphosate will get a ringing safety endorsement by the spring of 2017.

***

NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM BEING CO-OPTED BY AGRIBUSINESS

In a letter to the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, The Cornucopia Institute has requested an independent audit of the National Organic Program (NOP), charging a multiplicity of illegal actions and inactions. The Wisconsin-based farm policy research group alleges that the National Organic Program has failed to enforce the laws governing organic agriculture, thereby allowing multinational corporate agribusinesses to squeeze out family-scale farmers, compromising the integrity of the organic label.

If the independent Inspector General responds to Cornucopia’s request, this will not be the first audit that they have performed at the request of the watchdog group. Past audits have been highly critical of the National Organic Program’s accreditation program overseeing organic certification.

“By failing to vigorously enforce the organic standards, USDA political appointees and NOP management have betrayed ethical family farmers and businesses, along with consumer trust,” stated Mark A. Kastel, Cornucopia’s codirector. “The NOP has ceded control of organic rulemaking and enforcement to lobbyists from the nation’s most powerful agribusinesses.”

Cornucopia’s letter cites a number of serious enforcement violations including: allowing soil-less hydroponic/container growing, which substitutes liquid fertilizers for careful stewardship of soil; allowing documented cases of “willful” violations on factory dairies confining livestock instead of grazing; and allowing as many as 200,000 “organic” chickens to be kept in single buildings without outdoor access.

***

ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION WANTS ECO-CONSOLIDATION

“One of our favorite themes at Organic Consumers Association is the need for all of us to move away from single-issue organizing to galvanizing our many movements—peace, social justice, food and farming, campaign finance reform, faith, environment and climate —around a shared determination to stand up to corruption and to defend our basic rights and our common home,” the group announced in a press release.

“If we can break out of our single-issue silos, we will create a movement, indeed a revolution, so powerful that we will succeed in redirecting our financial and human resources toward the regeneration of our soils, our food, our economies, our health. And in so doing, restore climate stability.

OCA says that’s why the Standing Rock protest was so inspirational: “Because it united us.” Five hundred clergy members from 20 different religious groups gathered at the Standing Rock camp. Musicians Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and Jason Mraz held a benefit concert. Bill McKibben, 350.org, and other climate groups got involved. The Code Pink peace and human rights activists participated, as did actress and 60s anti-war activist Jane Fonda.
And then there were the thousands of veterans who descended on the Standing Rock camp, vowing to defend the water protectors from any attempt by “law enforcement” to remove them.

Maybe most importantly, indigenous peoples from tribes around the world took notice of Standing Rock and many sent folks to join in the protection of sacred places and clean water.

“At OCA, what started out as a fundraising drive to provide an organic Thanksgiving dinner for the water protectors, turned into something bigger. We knew that our message—that we are all connected, that we are all fighting the same battle, that we are all one movement—resonated when in just two days our members donated $40,000, ten times more than the $4,000 we asked for, to provide food and other supplies for the camp,” wrote Katherine Paul, associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

***

TRUMP CABINET PICKS ARE BAD NEWS FOR FOOD SAFETY GROUPS

“With all eyes on the Trump administration’s likely picks for his Cabinet, we’ve been closely following the nominations of appointees most likely to make an impact on the food movement,” says the Center for Food Safety. “And we won’t sugarcoat this: so far, it’s bad news.”

It’s becoming clear that a Donald Trump presidency means key Administration officials will try to dismantle some of the gains we’ve fought for over the past 20 years, and in some cases will even ally with big corporations.

President-elect Trump has denied climate change, promised to cancel the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and gut the Environmental Protection Agency. His nominees are cut from the same cloth.

For starters, Trump has just nominated oil and gas industry darling Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt sued the EPA to stop vital protections for public health, including crucial regulations against smog and toxic pollutants like mercury and arsenic. Pruitt also supported Oklahoma’s failed “Right to Farm” bill which would have protected corporate and factory farms at the expense of family farmers and animal welfare, and prevented local communities from passing laws to protect their water and public health.

Add to the list Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), nominated for secretary of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration. Price has been a consistent opponent of food safety laws while in Congress, voting against the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and the Food Safety Modernization Act. He voted for the DARK Act twice, and voted to repeal Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef, pork, and chicken.

***

FIRST CROP OF PERIGORD TRUFFLES HARVESTED AND SOLD IN OREGON

Dr. Charles Lefevre, internationally renowned mycologist and co-founder of The Oregon Truffle Festival (Jan. 20-29), has worked with growers across North America since 2000 to plant orchards of oak and hazelnut seedlings inoculated with truffles through his company, New World Truffieres.

His first customer, Pat Long of Corvallis, unearthed the first Perigord truffle (Tuber melanosporum) grown in Oregon in 2013. Last week, Long’s first harvest of this winter season produced enough truffles for a commercial sale to James Beard Award-nominated chef Matt Bennett of Sybaris Bistro in Albany, Oregon, making this the first sizable crop of Perigord truffles grown in the Pacific Northwest. With 12 more weeks of harvests ahead in several Pacific Northwest orchards, Dr. Lefevre anticipates the upcoming cultivated truffle season to be the most productive yet.

“We’re seeing many of our customer’s orchards throughout the United States on the verge of or producing significant quantities of truffles this year,” says Dr. Lefevre. “The large increases in truffle production this year are a clear product of management activities in the orchards, and represent a breakthrough in our ability to farm Perigord truffles in North America. Over the past decade, we have encountered, understood, and finally surpassed the major hurdles complicating truffle production on this continent.”

Because one of the world’s most valuable culinary ingredients are also highly perishable, truffles quickly lose their prized aroma. The aim of cultivating truffles is to provide a source closer to the consumer, so that diners can enjoy truffles at their peak ripeness as they do in Europe where truffles have been historically abundant. Dr. Lefevre has had more success in achieving this goal than any other truffle cultivator in North America, as most of the cultivated truffles on the continent are being produced by his customers. Oregon’s native foraged truffles, particularly Oregon Black and Oregon Winter White truffles, are harvested and prepared by chefs in season each year at the Oregon Truffle Festival. This year, the Oregon-grown Perigord truffles will be served alongside wild Oregon truffles for the first time.

New World Truffieres is an established pioneer in truffle cultivation in North America, as Dr. Charles Lefevre developed his own method for inoculating host tree seedlings with truffle spores while still a graduate student at Oregon State University in 2000. His trees were also the first to produce cultivated Burgundy truffles (British Columbia, 2013) and Bianchetto truffles (Idaho, 2012) in North America and the first to produce cultivated Pecan truffles in the world. Each year since 2007, Dr. Lefevre has gathered international truffle industry experts to share information, research and advances in truffle science at the annual Truffle Growers Forum at the Oregon Truffle Festival, in addition to promoting the North American truffle industry and appreciation through the festival’s myriad seminars, truffle hunts, truffle dog trainings, tastings and dinners featuring some of the West Coast’s most renowned chefs.

###
The list of corporate cronies who will soon run the new, sad reality show in Washington, DC, gets uglier by the day, writes Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association.

Here’s one appointment that may have escaped your notice, Cummins reports. Under the incoming Trump Administration, the CEO of the company that brought us Napalm, Agent Orange, Chlorpyrifos, 2,4-D, and, along with Monsanto, GMO crops, will head up the “American Manufacturing Council.”

It’s a safe bet that Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical, won’t care one whit about how much poison his company unleashes on you and your food. On December 10, President-Elect Donald Trump pulled Dow’s Liveris up on stage at the Deltaplex Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., to announce that the head of the chemical giant will lead Trump’s “American Manufacturing Council.”

As the two men “showered each other with praise,” said a Wall Street Journal report, Liveris reportedly told the crowd, “I tingle with pride listening to you.”

In a list of talking points drafted by Trump’s National Advisory Committee for Agriculture and Rural Issues, this was talking point #10: The Trump-Pence administration will use the best available science to determine appropriate regulations for the food and agriculture sector; agriculture will NOT be regulated based upon the latest trend on social media.

With Dow’s CEO in charge of the “American Manufacturing Council,” there’s no doubt that the so-called “best available science” will be as pro-poison and pro-GMO as it gets.
“We’ve got ideas and we’ve got plans,” Liveris told the cheering crowd in Grand Rapids.

Thanks for pointing this out, Ronnie. I haven’t read a word about it in any other source.

***

EPA PANEL TO DETERMINE GLYPHOSATE’S CARCINOGENICITY

Stefanie Spear of EcoWatch reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) to evaluate “the carcinogenic potential of the herbicide glyphosate,” the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.

For years, Monsanto has claimed that glyphosate is safe, advertising at one time that Roundup was “safer than table salt” and “practically non-toxic.”

However, many studies contradict Monsanto’s assertions. In March, 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, concluded that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” Then in July, 2016, an IARC scientist, Dr. Kurt Straif, defended the agency’s assessment that glyphosate probably causes cancer in humans. Dr. Straif stated that:

“Our evaluation was a review of all the published scientific literature on glyphosate and this was done by the world’s best experts on the topic that in addition don’t have any conflicts of interest that could bias their assessment.

“They concluded that, yes, glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans based on three strings of evidence, that is clear evidence of cancer in experimental animals, limited evidence for cancer for humans from real-world exposures, of exposed farmers, and also strong evidence that it can damage the genes from any kind of other toxicological studies.”

The SAP meetings now taking place were originally scheduled for mid-October, but the EPA postponed them only a few of days before they were to begin due to “changes in the availability of experts for the peer review panel.”

According to Carey Gillam, research director for U.S. Right to Know, the EPA’s decision to postpone the meetings came after an intense lobbying campaign led by CropLife America, which represents the interests of Monsanto and other agricultural businesses. CropLife initially fought to keep the SAP meetings from happening at all, then said if the meetings were to be held, “any person who has publicly expressed an opinion regarding the carcinogenicity of glyphosate” should be excluded from participating.

In a letter to the EPA, CropLife singled out epidemiologist Dr. Peter Infante, who the lobbying firm felt should be “replaced with an epidemiologist without such patent bias.” As the only epidemiologist slated to be on the panel, CropLife felt that Dr. Infante may have had enhanced influence on the epidemiological evaluation on glyphosate.

Dr. Infante has testified on behalf of plaintiffs suing Monsanto over chemical exposure. Nonetheless, Dr. Infante is one of the leading experts in his field, having spent the better part of a storied career protecting the public from harmful chemicals.

Dr. Infante spent 24 years working for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, where he determined cancer risks to those working on developing toxic chemicals, including arsenic, asbestos and formaldehyde. He has also served as an expert epidemiology consultant for a number of world bodies, including the World Trade Organization and the EPA.

CropLife’s letter to the EPA was sent two days before the agency announced that the glyphosate meetings would be postponed. Many accused the EPA of kowtowing to lobbyists and the businesses they represent. The accusations only grew louder when Dr. Infante’s name was no longer on the list of panelists scheduled for the December meetings.

Dr. Infante told Delta FarmPress that he was “mystified” by the EPA’s decision to remove him from the meetings. “I didn’t choose to leave the panel,” he said. “No … I was removed from the panel. I’m totally mystified by it.”

The EPA’s move was also surprising to environmental advocacy groups, who say it is highly unusual for the agency to remove a panelist from a Scientific Advisory Panel.

“The industry wants to say that our own government scientists, the top ones in their fields, aren’t good enough for these panels,” said Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist at the Consumers Union, after the SAP meetings were postponed in October. “If the EPA wants to add extra epidemiologists that is great but why didn’t they do it before? They are doing this because of pressure from industry.”

According to Gillam, “the delay and the maneuvering by industry to influence panel participation does little to bolster consumer confidence for the likelihood of an objective outcome.”

The EPA said it will issue a risk assessment for glyphosate by spring of 2017.

Jeff Cox adds: With Trump’s choice of climate denier Scott Pruitt as the next administrator of the EPA starting January 20, and with Trump’s stated goal of cutting EPA’s budget by 80 percent, it seems certain that glyphosate will get a ringing safety endorsement by the spring of 2017.

***

NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM BEING CO-OPTED BY AGRIBUSINESS

In a letter to the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, The Cornucopia Institute has requested an independent audit of the National Organic Program (NOP), charging a multiplicity of illegal actions and inactions. The Wisconsin-based farm policy research group alleges that the National Organic Program has failed to enforce the laws governing organic agriculture, thereby allowing multinational corporate agribusinesses to squeeze out family-scale farmers, compromising the integrity of the organic label.

If the independent Inspector General responds to Cornucopia’s request, this will not be the first audit that they have performed at the request of the watchdog group. Past audits have been highly critical of the National Organic Program’s accreditation program overseeing organic certification.

“By failing to vigorously enforce the organic standards, USDA political appointees and NOP management have betrayed ethical family farmers and businesses, along with consumer trust,” stated Mark A. Kastel, Cornucopia’s codirector. “The NOP has ceded control of organic rulemaking and enforcement to lobbyists from the nation’s most powerful agribusinesses.”

Cornucopia’s letter cites a number of serious enforcement violations including: allowing soil-less hydroponic/container growing, which substitutes liquid fertilizers for careful stewardship of soil; allowing documented cases of “willful” violations on factory dairies confining livestock instead of grazing; and allowing as many as 200,000 “organic” chickens to be kept in single buildings without outdoor access.

***

ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION WANTS ECO-CONSOLIDATION

“One of our favorite themes at Organic Consumers Association is the need for all of us to move away from single-issue organizing to galvanizing our many movements—peace, social justice, food and farming, campaign finance reform, faith, environment and climate —around a shared determination to stand up to corruption and to defend our basic rights and our common home,” the group announced in a press release.

“If we can break out of our single-issue silos, we will create a movement, indeed a revolution, so powerful that we will succeed in redirecting our financial and human resources toward the regeneration of our soils, our food, our economies, our health. And in so doing, restore climate stability.

OCA says that’s why the Standing Rock protest was so inspirational: “Because it united us.” Five hundred clergy members from 20 different religious groups gathered at the Standing Rock camp. Musicians Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and Jason Mraz held a benefit concert. Bill McKibben, 350.org, and other climate groups got involved. The Code Pink peace and human rights activists participated, as did actress and 60s anti-war activist Jane Fonda.
And then there were the thousands of veterans who descended on the Standing Rock camp, vowing to defend the water protectors from any attempt by “law enforcement” to remove them.

Maybe most importantly, indigenous peoples from tribes around the world took notice of Standing Rock and many sent folks to join in the protection of sacred places and clean water.

“At OCA, what started out as a fundraising drive to provide an organic Thanksgiving dinner for the water protectors, turned into something bigger. We knew that our message—that we are all connected, that we are all fighting the same battle, that we are all one movement—resonated when in just two days our members donated $40,000, ten times more than the $4,000 we asked for, to provide food and other supplies for the camp,” wrote Katherine Paul, associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

***

TRUMP CABINET PICKS ARE BAD NEWS FOR FOOD SAFETY GROUPS

“With all eyes on the Trump administration’s likely picks for his Cabinet, we’ve been closely following the nominations of appointees most likely to make an impact on the food movement,” says the Center for Food Safety. “And we won’t sugarcoat this: so far, it’s bad news.”

It’s becoming clear that a Donald Trump presidency means key Administration officials will try to dismantle some of the gains we’ve fought for over the past 20 years, and in some cases will even ally with big corporations.

President-elect Trump has denied climate change, promised to cancel the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and gut the Environmental Protection Agency. His nominees are cut from the same cloth.

For starters, Trump has just nominated oil and gas industry darling Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt sued the EPA to stop vital protections for public health, including crucial regulations against smog and toxic pollutants like mercury and arsenic. Pruitt also supported Oklahoma’s failed “Right to Farm” bill which would have protected corporate and factory farms at the expense of family farmers and animal welfare, and prevented local communities from passing laws to protect their water and public health.

Add to the list Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), nominated for secretary of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration. Price has been a consistent opponent of food safety laws while in Congress, voting against the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and the Food Safety Modernization Act. He voted for the DARK Act twice, and voted to repeal Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef, pork, and chicken.

***

FIRST CROP OF PERIGORD TRUFFLES HARVESTED AND SOLD IN OREGON

Dr. Charles Lefevre, internationally renowned mycologist and co-founder of The Oregon Truffle Festival (Jan. 20-29), has worked with growers across North America since 2000 to plant orchards of oak and hazelnut seedlings inoculated with truffles through his company, New World Truffieres.

His first customer, Pat Long of Corvallis, unearthed the first Perigord truffle (Tuber melanosporum) grown in Oregon in 2013. Last week, Long’s first harvest of this winter season produced enough truffles for a commercial sale to James Beard Award-nominated chef Matt Bennett of Sybaris Bistro in Albany, Oregon, making this the first sizable crop of Perigord truffles grown in the Pacific Northwest. With 12 more weeks of harvests ahead in several Pacific Northwest orchards, Dr. Lefevre anticipates the upcoming cultivated truffle season to be the most productive yet.

“We’re seeing many of our customer’s orchards throughout the United States on the verge of or producing significant quantities of truffles this year,” says Dr. Lefevre. “The large increases in truffle production this year are a clear product of management activities in the orchards, and represent a breakthrough in our ability to farm Perigord truffles in North America. Over the past decade, we have encountered, understood, and finally surpassed the major hurdles complicating truffle production on this continent.”

Because one of the world’s most valuable culinary ingredients are also highly perishable, truffles quickly lose their prized aroma. The aim of cultivating truffles is to provide a source closer to the consumer, so that diners can enjoy truffles at their peak ripeness as they do in Europe where truffles have been historically abundant. Dr. Lefevre has had more success in achieving this goal than any other truffle cultivator in North America, as most of the cultivated truffles on the continent are being produced by his customers. Oregon’s native foraged truffles, particularly Oregon Black and Oregon Winter White truffles, are harvested and prepared by chefs in season each year at the Oregon Truffle Festival. This year, the Oregon-grown Perigord truffles will be served alongside wild Oregon truffles for the first time.

New World Truffieres is an established pioneer in truffle cultivation in North America, as Dr. Charles Lefevre developed his own method for inoculating host tree seedlings with truffle spores while still a graduate student at Oregon State University in 2000. His trees were also the first to produce cultivated Burgundy truffles (British Columbia, 2013) and Bianchetto truffles (Idaho, 2012) in North America and the first to produce cultivated Pecan truffles in the world. Each year since 2007, Dr. Lefevre has gathered international truffle industry experts to share information, research and advances in truffle science at the annual Truffle Growers Forum at the Oregon Truffle Festival, in addition to promoting the North American truffle industry and appreciation through the festival’s myriad seminars, truffle hunts, truffle dog trainings, tastings and dinners featuring some of the West Coast’s most renowned chefs.

###




GMO Feeding Study May Be Right after All

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Remember Professor Giles-Eric Seralini and his research team at the University of Caan in France? They provided pictures of rats fed Monsanto GMO corn saturated with Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer. And they almost had their reputations destroyed as a result. Well, Paul Fassa has done his homework and brings us up-to-date on the situation through his blog at REALfarmacy.com. Here’s his story:
Seralini’s study discovered that rats fed GMOs developed tumors and died prematurely. But that wasn’t the purpose of their study. It was set up to examine the long term toxicity potential of eating GMO corn along with its associated exposure to Roundup.
After Seralini’s long term toxicity study results were publicized, with displays of rats showing huge tumors, a tsunami of outrage from pro-GMO scientists and shill journalists got favorable mainstream media (MSM) press.
The hundreds of scientists who defended Seralini’s work were mostly ignored. Many fence sitters were left confused and willing to side with the barking dogs of the biotechnology industry.
This highly publicized media attack on Seralini and his team was the air and sea attack to soften the defense of the tiny GMO truther island. Then the actual landing attack against that island’s real science was embarked by surreptitiously setting up former Monsanto scientist Richard E. Goodman in a newly created biotech editorial position at the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), an Elsevier publication.
That’s the journal where Seralini’s study, “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” had been originally peer reviewed and posted. With Goodman steering the landing craft, the editor-in-chief of FCT, Wallace Hayes, removed Seralini’s paper from the journal in 2013, a full year after it was initially peer reviewed and published.
Hayes admitted the study was not fraudulent or inaccurate, but explained that it was inconclusive. Some defending scientists jumped on that one, explaining that peer reviewed published studies are often inconclusive, recommending “further studies.”
Around that same time a Brazilian study proving Monsanto’s Bt corn insecticide starter genes do not disintegrate in mammalian stomachs as claimed by Monsanto, but survive intact to harm mammals’ blood cells was also pulled from FCT.
That study has now been published in another journal. By the way, Seralini’s study was also soon re-published in 2014 by another journal far removed from Monsanto’s invaders: Environmental Sciences Europe.
And by the way again, after some serious howling from international scientists directed at the FCT journal, here’s a 26 February, 2015, update from Scientists for Global Responsibility:
Critical changes have this year been made at the journal, Food and Chemical Toxicolgy, from which the Editor-in-Chief A. Wallace Hayes retracted the important paper by the Seralini team. The Editorial Board of the journal now has a new Editor-in-Chief, José L. Domingo, who has published papers showing that safety of GM crops is not an established fact; and the Editorial Board no longer includes Richard Goodman, the ex-Monsanto employee who became Associate Editor for Biotechnology not long before the Seralini paper was retracted.
Seralini and his research team weren’t completely satisfied with getting their studies republished and defending their work to a mostly uninterested mainstream media. They formed a group called CRIIGEN, the acronym for Comité de Recherche et d’Information Indépendantes sur le Génie Génétique, or Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering, and fought back.
Keep in mind the attacks on Seralini et al focused on the tumors, which had a high visual media impact. But Seralini and team weren’t testing for cancerous effects primarily. Their toxicity analysis focused on long term effects on liver and kidney health, where they did find indisputable evidence of gross harm.
Professor Seralini’s study was a chronic toxicity study, not a full-scale carcinogenicity study. Therefore he conservatively did not do a statistical analysis of the tumors and mortality findings. Instead he simply reported them, without drawing definitive conclusions.
This was in line with the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) chronic toxicity protocol, which requires that any “lesions,” including tumors observed, are recorded.
So Seralini and CRIIGEN conspired to attack rather than just defend, which they did with support from many international scientists. They successfully challenged Marianne Magazine and its featured journalist Jean-Claude Jaillet for publicly claiming in 2012 that Seralini and his team were guilty of “scientific fraud in which the methodology served to reinforce predetermined results.”
That same article also reported “researchers around the world” had voiced “harsh words” about Seralini’s long term (two years) toxicity research on rats fed GMO Roundup-tolerant corn. Seralini and CRIIGEN, with the assistance of public attorneys, called notaires in France, Bernard Dartevelle and Cindy Gay, won their suit against Marianne Magazine.

Then after a three year investigation ending on the 25th of November 2015, the High Court of Paris indicted Marc Fellous, one of those charged in the original libel case earlier. He just happened to be the chairman of France’s Biomolecular Engineering Commission who had rubber stamped many genetically modified products for consumption.
Details haven’t been publicly revealed, but apparently Fellous has been charged with forgery and the use of forgery, using a scientist’s signature to “prove” Seralini and company were wrong about their study that concluded that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn was not safe for consumption until further study was undertaken. Final judgement and sentencing is expected by early 2017.
The court’s investigation discovered that American journalist Henry Miller via notoriously pro-GMO Forbes Magazine had initiated the libelous attacks. This Henry Miller is one of those mercenary attack hacks who has a history of working for industries that are dangerous to the health and welfare of humanity and the planet, including the tobacco industry.
Conclusion: Attacking the lying pro-GMO crowd and fraudulent biotech industry through the court system may be more effective in Europe than here in the States, but it may be the only way to go against all things considered GMO.

***

ORGANIC STANDARDS TO EXCLUDE NEXT GENERATION GMO INGREDIENTS

The National Organic Standards Board has voted unanimously to update U.S. organic standards to exclude ingredients derived from next generation genetic engineering and gene editing, Friends of the Earth reports.
This recommendation to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program will ensure that ingredients derived from new genetic engineering techniques, including synthetic biology, will not be allowed in the production or final product of foods and beverages that are certified organic. Synthetic biology is a new set of genetic engineering techniques that include using synthetic DNA to re-engineer organisms to produce substances they would not normally produce or to edit DNA so as to silence the expression of certain traits.
“The Board’s hard-fought proactive stance on synthetic biology will both help preserve the integrity of organic standards and raise awareness about this virtually unregulated and unlabeled form of genetic engineering,” said Dana Perls, food and technology policy campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “It’s critical that organic standards treat new types of genetic engineering that are rapidly entering our food and consumer products as rigorously as the first generation of GMOs.”
Like “traditional” GMOs, synthetic biology ingredients are entering food and consumer products in absence of adequate health and environmental safety assessment, oversight and labeling. Many are being falsely marketed as “natural.” Products in development include synthetic stevia, saffron, coconut and cacao, meant to replace plant-based ingredients, many of which are currently produced by small farmers in the Global South. There is increasing concern that these farmers’ livelihoods may be displaced by synthetic biology ingredients. Other products include gene-silenced apples, CRISPR waxy corn, and Cibus Canola oil, engineered with gene editing techniques.
“The National Organic Standards Board has made clear that all kinds of genetic engineering are to be excluded from ‘organic.’ The public expects that government to actually assess the new foods that it is permitting on the market,” said Jaydee Hanson, senior policy analyst, Center for Food Safety. “Unfortunately, the government has failed to update its regulations to adequately assess these new kinds of genetic engineering. When the USDA approves that NOSB recommendations, consumers who want to avoid GMOs will be able to use the Organic Seal to know that the product is not a GMO.”
The Board’s announcement follows a growing trend of companies stating that they will not use ingredients produced via synthetic biology. The Non-GMO Project, North America’s only third party verification program for non-GMO food and products, recently updated its standards so as to include synthetic biology and new gene editing techniques. Companies such as Ben and Jerry’s (BJICA: US), Three Twins Ice Cream, Straus Family Creamery, Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss, Nestlé (NSRGY: OTC US), and General Mills (NYSE: GIS) have committed to “…not source vanilla flavor produced through synthetic biology,” a product that is designed to replace natural vanillin flavoring from vanilla beans. Synthetic biology vanilla flavoring, introduced by Evolva (SWX: EVE) and International Flavors and Fragrances (NYSE: IFF) in 2014, is the first major synthetic biology ingredient to enter food and beverages, marketed as “natural vanillin.” Other companies that have pledged to avoid synthetic biology ingredients entirely include Nutiva and Dr. Bronner’s.
Synthetic biology employs a new set of genetic engineering techniques that involve artificially constructing or “editing” genetic material such as DNA in order to create new forms of life, or to attempt to “reprogram” existing organisms. Despite growing concerns about the possible impacts of synthetic biology organisms on human health and the environment and a lack of independent safety assessment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has allowed synthetic biology vanilla, DuPont’s CRISPR waxy corn and other similarly created food and cosmetic ingredients to enter the market without regulation. Existing regulations that identify GE crops and food ingredients as “Generally Regarded As Safe” use an outdated process with minimal testing requirements that rely on companies to self-evaluate the safety of their products.

IMPROVING PLANT GROWTH BY IMPROVING PHOTOSYNTHESIS
A decade ago, The New York Times reports, agricultural scientists at the University of Illinois suggested a bold approach to improve the food supply: tinker with photosynthesis, the chemical reaction powering nearly all life on Earth.
The idea was greeted skeptically in scientific circles and ignored by funding agencies. But one outfit with deep pockets, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, eventually paid attention, hoping the research might help alleviate global poverty.
Now, after several years of work funded by the foundation, the scientists are reporting a remarkable result.
Using genetic engineering techniques to alter photosynthesis, they increased the productivity of a test plant — tobacco — by as much as 20 percent, they said Thursday in a study published by the journal Science. That is a huge number, given that plant breeders struggle to eke out gains of 1 or 2 percent with more conventional approaches.

The scientists have no interest in increasing the production of tobacco; their plan is to try the same alterations in food crops, and one of the leaders of the work believes production gains of 50 percent or more may ultimately be achievable. If that prediction is borne out in further research — it could take a decade, if not longer, to know for sure — the result might be nothing less than a transformation of global agriculture.
The findings could also intensify the political struggle over genetic engineering of the food supply. Some groups oppose it, arguing that researchers are playing God by moving genes from one species to another. That argument has gained some traction with the public, in part because the benefits of gene-altered crops have so far been modest at best.
But gains of 40 or 50 percent in food production would be an entirely different matter, potentially offering enormous benefits for the world’s poorest people, many of them farmers working small plots of land in the developing world.
“We’re here because we want to alleviate poverty,” said Katherine Kahn, the officer at the Gates Foundation overseeing the grant for the Illinois research. “What is it the farmers need, and how can we help them get there?”
One of the leaders of the research, Stephen P. Long, a crop scientist who holds appointments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at Lancaster University in England, emphasized in an interview that a long road lay ahead before any results from the work might reach farmers’ fields.

But Dr. Long is also convinced that genetic engineering could ultimately lead to what he called a “second Green Revolution” that would produce huge gains in food production, like the original Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, which transferred advanced agricultural techniques to some developing countries and led to reductions in world hunger.
The research involves photosynthesis, in which plants use carbon dioxide from the air and energy from sunlight to form new, energy-rich carbohydrates. These compounds are, in turn, the basic energy supply for almost all animal cells, including those of humans. The mathematical description of photosynthesis is sometimes billed as “the equation that powers the world.”
For a decade, Dr. Long had argued that photosynthesis was not actually very efficient. In the course of evolution, several experts said, Mother Nature had focused on the survival and reproduction of plants, not on putting out the maximum amount of seeds or fruits for humans to come along and pick.
Dr. Long thought crop yields might be improved by certain genetic changes. Other scientists doubted it would work, but with the Science paper, Dr. Long and his collaborator — Krishna K. Niyogi, who holds appointments at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — have gone a long way toward proving their point.
Much of the work at the University of Illinois was carried out by two young researchers from abroad who hold positions in Dr. Long’s laboratory, Johannes Kromdijk of the Netherlands and Katarzyna Glowacka of Poland.
No one plans to eat tobacco, of course, nor does the Gates Foundation have any interest in increasing the production of that health-damaging crop. But the researchers used it because tobacco is a particularly fast and easy plant in which to try new genetic alterations to see how well they work.
In a recent interview here, Dr. Kromdijk and Dr. Glowacka showed off tiny tobacco plants incorporating the genetic changes and described their aspirations.
“We hope it translates into food crops in the way we’ve shown in tobacco,” Dr. Kromdijk said. “Of course, you only know when you actually try it.”
In the initial work, the researchers transferred genes from a common laboratory plant, known as thale cress or mouse-ear cress, into strains of tobacco. The effect was not to introduce alien substances, but rather to increase the level of certain proteins that already existed in tobacco.
When plants receive direct sunlight, they are often getting more energy than they can use, and they activate a mechanism that helps them shed it as heat — while slowing carbohydrate production. The genetic changes the researchers introduced help the plant turn that mechanism off faster once the excessive sunlight ends, so that the machinery of photosynthesis can get back more quickly to maximal production of carbohydrates.
It is a bit like a factory worker taking a shorter coffee break before getting back to the assembly line. But the effect on the overall growth of the tobacco plants was surprisingly large.

When the scientists grew the newly created plants in fields at the University of Illinois, they achieved yield increases of 13.5 percent in one strain, 19 percent in a second and 20 percent in a third, over normal tobacco plants grown for comparison.

Because the machinery of photosynthesis in many of the world’s food crops is identical to that of tobacco, theory suggests that a comparable manipulation of those crops should increase production. Work is planned to test that in crops that are especially important as dietary staples in Africa, like cowpeas, rice and cassava.

Two outside experts not involved in the research both used the word “exciting” to describe it. But they emphasized that the researchers had not yet proved that the food supply could be increased.

“How does it look in rice or corn or wheat or sugar beets?” said L. Val Giddings, a senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington and a longtime advocate of gene-altered crops. “You’ve got to get it into a handful of the important crops before you can show this is real and it’s going to have a huge impact. We are not there yet.”

Barry D. Bruce of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, who studies photosynthesis, pointed out that the genetic alteration might behave differently in crops where only parts of the plant, such as seeds or fruits, are harvested. In tobacco, by contrast, the entire aboveground plant is harvested — Dr. Bruce called it “a leafy green plant used for cigars!”

Dr. Bruce also noted that, now that the principle has been established, it might be possible to find plant varieties with the desired traits and introduce the changes into crops by conventional breeding, rather than by genetic engineering. Dr. Long and his group agreed this might be possible.

The genetic engineering approach, if it works, may well be used in commercial seeds produced by Western agricultural companies. One of them, Syngenta, has already signed a deal to get a first look at the results. But the Gates Foundation is determined to see the technology, assuming its early promise is borne out, make its way to African farmers at low cost.

The work is, in part, an effort to secure the food supply against the possible effects of future climate change. If rising global temperatures cut the production of food, human society could be destabilized, but more efficient crop plants could potentially make the food system more resilient, Dr. Long said.

“We’re in a year when commodity prices are very low, and people are saying the world doesn’t need more food,” Dr. Long said. “But if we don’t do this now, we may not have it when we really need it.”

Okay—this is a very nice summary of the work to date. But several things.
If the plants to be transformed into super photo synthesizers are to be eaten by human beings, health safety tests would have to be performed. This is especially important because of the falsehoods present in this article. To wit, this paragraph: “But Dr. Long is also convinced that genetic engineering could ultimately lead to what he called a ‘second Green Revolution’ that would produce huge gains in food production, like the original Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, which transferred advanced agricultural techniques to some developing countries and led to reductions in world hunger.”
That Green Revolution “transferred advanced agricultural techniques to some developing countries,” but what that meant was that indigenous agriculture—the inherent knowledge of the people—was brushed aside so that modern agriculture, with its chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and so on, could replace it, with millions of poor people thrown into servitude to Big Ag from America. In the final analysis, that first Green revolution was a total failure and disaster for the indigenous people, and a temporary source of money for Big Ag.
I think we’ll soon see that Monsanto and its allies will be rebranding the old Green Revolution agriculture as “American agriculture,” as the Organic Consumers Association has suggested. Once Big Ag becomes “American agriculture,” then the people who oppose it become, by default, “anti-American,” nicht Wahr?
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Biotech Bullies Now Rule

Organic Lifestyle Comments (0)

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States doesn’t bode well for America and the world in many ways. In the following essay, Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association goes over what the election might mean for us in the organic community.

 

Monsanto and its minions are rushing to tighten their control over our food and farming system. Emboldened by the prospect of another pro-industrial-agriculture administration, they’re plowing ahead—with total disregard for public health, and blanket dismissal of the warnings pouring in from independent scientists.

 

Politico, which obtained a list of Trump’s talking points on agriculture, reports that the list includes a “sweeping promise” to “defend American agriculture against its critics, particularly those who have never grown or produced anything beyond a backyard tomato plant.” From Politico:

 

The document . . . offers a host of policy pledges—from suggesting a shift back to conventional agriculture, to promises for the Trump White House to be an “active participant” in writing the next Farm Bill, to fighting the so-called good food movement and undoing Obama-era agricultural and environmental policies.

 

Pair that news with Trump’s EPA transition team pick, climate-denier Myron Ebell who says “pesticides aren’t bad for you,” and the future for organic regenerative agriculture—and your health—looks bleak.

 

We don’t need to guess or wonder. The incoming Trump administration will not be a friend to those of us committed to a healthy, pollution-free, regenerative, climate-friendly future.

 

Where does that leave us? Working at the state and local level to elect candidates and to pass public health and climate policies in line with the obvious truth, which is that we can’t go on poisoning ourselves and our ecosystem—and still go on.

 

It also will require that we expand food testing, and expose the long list of the dangerous chemicals in our food so we can put our consumer power to good use. Once a critical mass of consumers knows exactly what kinds of—and how much—poison we’re being fed, we will force Big Food to clean up its act, or go broke. At which point, it won’t much matter what Monsanto’s minions are up to in Congress. Because the market for their products will shrivel up faster than a glyphosate-drenched weed.

 

 

***

 

TRUMP’S AG ADVISORY COMMITTEE: WHO’S WHO OF AGRIBUSINESS

 

Donald J. Trump has announced his new Agricultural Advisory Committee. It press release states, “The men and women on the committee will provide pioneering new ideas to strengthen our nation’s agricultural industry as well as provide support to our rural communities. Mr. Trump understands the critical role our nation’s agricultural community plays in feeding not only our country, but the world, and how important these Americans are to powering our nation’s economy.

 

“The formation of the board represents Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of these individuals’ diverse skill sets and ideas that can improve the lives of those in agricultural communities. Mr. Trump has received widespread support from voters who understand he is the only candidate with the best interests of the agricultural community at the heart of his policies.

 

“Mr. Trump said, ‘The members of my agricultural advisory committee represent the best that America can offer to help serve agricultural communities. Many of these officials have been elected by their communities to solve the issues that impact our rural areas every day. I’m very proud to stand with these men and women, and look forward to serving those who serve all Americans from the White House.’”

 

Executive board members will convene on a regular basis. The more than 60 advisory board members include:

 

Charles Herbster–National Chairman of the Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee for the Donald J. Trump Campaign for President.

 

Sam Clovis– National Chief Policy Advisor for the Donald J. Trump Campaign for President.

 

Rebeckah Adcock–CropLife, Senior Director, Government Affairs.

 

Robert Aderholt–Congressman from Alabama; Chairman, Subcommittee on Agriculture.

 

Jay Armstrong–Kansas Wheat Commission; Chairman, Farm Foundation.

 

Gary Black– Commissioner of Agriculture, Georgia.

 

John Block– Former Secretary of Agriculture.

 

Mike Brandenburg–State Legislator, North Dakota.

 

Terry Branstad–Governor of Iowa.

 

Sam Brownback–Governor of Kansas.

 

Chuck Conner–CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

 

Mike Conaway–House Agriculture Committee Chairman.

 

Jack Dalrymple–Governor of North Dakota.

 

Dennis Daugaard–Governor of South Dakota.

 

Rodney Davis–Congressman from Illinois; House Agriculture Committee and Subcommittee Chair of Bio Tech.

 

Mary Fallin–Governor of Oklahoma.

 

Eddie Fields–Senator, Oklahoma; Chair Senate Ag and Rural Development.

 

Steve Foglesong–Former President National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

 

Jim Gilmore–Former Governor Virginia; Chairman of Report on Terrorism and Agro-Terrorism.

 

Bob Goodale–Former CEO of Harris Teeter.

 

Bob Goodlatte–Congressman, Virginia; Former Chairman House Agriculture Committee.

 

Ron Heck–Iowa farmer and Past President of the American Soybean Assn.

 

Mike McCloskey CEO Fair Oaks Farms- one of largest dairies in U.S.

 

Beau McCoy State Senator; Nebraska Nat. Chr. Council State Govts

 

Ted McKinney Former Director of Global Corp. Affairs for Elanco Animal Health

 

Sid Miller Commissioner of Agriculture, Texas

 

Jim Moseley Former consultant on agriculture at EPA; Former Deputy Secretary of USDA

 

Garry Niemeyer–Former President National Corn Growers.

 

Sonny Perdue–Former Gov. Georgia.

 

Rick Perry–Former Gov. Texas.

 

Pat Roberts–U.S. Senator Kansas.

 

Marcus Rust–CEO Rose Acre Farms, second largest egg producer in U.S.

 

Kip Tom–CEO, Tom Farms LLC, largest agri-business farm operator in Indiana; Operates farms in South America.

 

Johnny Trotter–CEO of BarG, 125,000 head of cattle feedlot operation and farms 10,000 acres in TX.

 

Steve Wellman–Former President of the American Soybean Association.

 

***

 

REPORT SHOWS U.S. FOOD SUPPLY CONTAMINATED WITH GLYPHOSATE

 

Food Democracy Now! and the Detox Project are releasing a 26-page report that shows that America’s food supply is contaminated with alarming levels of glyphosate residues.

 

As the main active ingredient in Monsanto’s bestselling weedkiller, Roundup, both Roundup and glyphosate have been linked to a host of negative health impacts, including birth defects, reproductive problems, lowered immune response, irritable bowel syndrome, harmful imbalances in gut microflora, and cancer.

 

The report details the latest independent peer reviewed science that conclusively shows that Roundup and glyphosate are significantly more harmful at much lower levels than previously thought and outlines the significant flaws in the U.S. regulatory system that has left the American public exposed to high levels of a toxic chemical, which last year the World Health Organization linked to cancer.

 

Food Democracy Now! and the Detox Project are demanding that the EPA Inspector General’s office launch a non-partisan investigation into glyphosate’s likely negative human health impacts reviewing the latest scientific research; halt the use of Roundup on important food crops, and uncover possible misconduct between U.S. regulators and the chemical industry they are supposed to regulate.

 

Using an independent FDA-registered laboratory, scientists found alarming levels of glyphosate residues in many popular American food products, including General Mills’ Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran, Special K and Frosted Flakes, and PepsiCo’s Doritos, Ritz Crackers and Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips, as part of a unique testing project designed to reveal pesticide exposure at real world levels.

 

Even more disturbing is that the highest glyphosate levels were found in General Mills’ Cheerios, one of the first foods that American mothers commonly feed their young children when they begin eating solid foods. Glyphosate residues for Cheerios, measured at 1,125.3 parts per billion (ppb), were simply off the chart and much higher than the 28 other food products tested.

 

New scientific evidence shows that possible harm from glyphosate can begin at much lower levels, even as low as 0.1 ppb. Credible independent peer reviewed studies published in 2014 and 2015 found that rats exposed to 0.1 ppb of Roundup and 0.05 ppb of glyphosate could cause severe organ damage and alter gene function of over 4,000 genes in the livers and kidneys of rats. These new findings should be a wake-up call for all Americans regarding unacceptable levels of pesticide residues in our nation’s food.

 

This report comes after more than a year and a half investigation into the massive U.S. regulatory failures that have left the American public not only in the dark about glyphosate contamination in our food supply, but also regularly exposed to levels of this toxic weedkiller that emerging science is now demonstrating to be more hazardous to human health than previously thought.

 

New independent research shows that harm from Monsanto’s Roundup and glyphosate-based herbicides can begin at much lower levels than previously thought. The new research shows that endocrine disrupting chemicals can disrupt basic hormone functions at ultra-low levels. U.S. regulations must reflect latest scientific research to protect our health and that of our children.

 

In addition, glyphosate is also patented as an antimicrobial agent. This has raised alarm among scientists who believe that low level exposure to glyphosate can negatively disrupt beneficial bacteria in the gut biome the way it does in the soil, leading to whole host of human health problems that doctors are just beginning to understand.

 

For the past 20 plus years, U.S. regulators have refused to test for glyphosate residues even though it’s the most widely used weedkiller in the U.S. and its use has exploded in the past two decades due to the widespread adoption of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMO crops. Today more than 300 million pounds of glyphosate-based weedkillers are sprayed across U.S. farmland, public parks and lawns and home gardens. Use of Roundup has become so pervasive that 75 percent of rainwater samples in the Midwest tested positive for glyphosate, according to Food Democracy Now!

 

On March 20, 2015, 17 leading scientific experts from the World Health

Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans,” which should have served as a call-to-action for U.S. regulators. Instead, the U.S. EPA issued a final report that agreed with Monsanto’s rebuttal, which called the IARC’s report “junk science.” This is why Food Democracy Now! is calling for an investigation of possible regulatory misconduct at the EPA by the EPA’s inspector general.

 

Currently, U.S. regulators allow what is considered a very high level of daily glyphosate residue in America’s food. In the U.S., the EPA set the daily acceptable intake (ADI) limit at 1.75 parts per million (ppm) per kilogram of bodyweight per day in the U.S., versus a more responsible level at 0.3 ppm in the European Union based on their review of the same studies submitted to the EPA. That’s six times the European level now allowed in the U.S. food supply.

 

The U.S. government’s continued reliance on Monsanto-funded science and their refusal to consider the most current independent peer reviewed scientific research is alarming, especially considering the fact that the regulators at the FDA are currently reviewing a 15-year re-approval of Monsanto’s Roundup and glyphosate-based herbicides based on out-of-date science.

 

You can share this report by following this link: http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/2047?t=15&akid=1946.101853._11J9w

 

What else you’ll find in the report:

 

  1. Levels of glyphosate residues found in popular American foods.
  2. A summary of what the latest independent scientific research says about the safety of Roundup and glyphosate.
  3. A detailed analysis of why the current U.S. EPA’s acceptable daily intake (ADI) is much too high.
  4. Evidence that regulators in Europe considered the U.S. ADI to be “very high” and “far outside the range” of what chemical companies other than Monsanto submitted for safety approvals.
  5. Scientific evidence that refutes Monsanto’s claim that glyphosate does not accumulate in the human body.
  6. A call to action-–to investigate regulatory collusion at the EPA, end the practice of pre-harvest spraying of Roundup on food crop, and a call to release all the scientific data submitted by Monsanto for safety assessments.

 

Editor’s addendum: I don’t want to sound defeatist, but with Trump’s climate change denier Myron Ebell set to head up the EPA, I think there’s not much chance that glyphosate poisoning will be remediated so long as agribiz and biotech rules in Washington. The answer, of course, is to eat organic food. –J.C.

 

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Biotech Bullies Rule

Organic Lifestyle Comments (0)

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States doesn’t bode well for America and the world in many ways. In the following essay, Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association goes over what the election might mean for us in the organic community.

 

Monsanto and its minions are rushing to tighten their control over our food and farming system. Emboldened by the prospect of another pro-industrial-agriculture administration, they’re plowing ahead—with total disregard for public health, and blanket dismissal of the warnings pouring in from independent scientists.

 

Politico, which obtained a list of Trump’s talking points on agriculture, reports that the list includes a “sweeping promise” to “defend American agriculture against its critics, particularly those who have never grown or produced anything beyond a backyard tomato plant.” From Politico:

 

The document . . . offers a host of policy pledges—from suggesting a shift back to conventional agriculture, to promises for the Trump White House to be an “active participant” in writing the next Farm Bill, to fighting the so-called good food movement and undoing Obama-era agricultural and environmental policies.

 

Pair that news with Trump’s EPA transition team pick, climate-denier Myron Ebell who says “pesticides aren’t bad for you,” and the future for organic regenerative agriculture—and your health—looks bleak.

 

We don’t need to guess or wonder. The incoming Trump administration will not be a friend to those of us committed to a healthy, pollution-free, regenerative, climate-friendly future.

 

Where does that leave us? Working at the state and local level to elect candidates and to pass public health and climate policies in line with the obvious truth, which is that we can’t go on poisoning ourselves and our ecosystem—and still go on.

 

It also will require that we expand food testing, and expose the long list of the dangerous chemicals in our food so we can put our consumer power to good use. Once a critical mass of consumers knows exactly what kinds of—and how much—poison we’re being fed, we will force Big Food to clean up its act, or go broke. At which point, it won’t much matter what Monsanto’s minions are up to in Congress. Because the market for their products will shrivel up faster than a glyphosate-drenched weed.

 

 

***

 

TRUMP’S AG ADVISORY COMMITTEE: WHO’S WHO OF AGRIBUSINESS

 

Donald J. Trump has announced his new Agricultural Advisory Committee. Its press release states, “The men and women on the committee will provide pioneering new ideas to strengthen our nation’s agricultural industry as well as provide support to our rural communities. Mr. Trump understands the critical role our nation’s agricultural community plays in feeding not only our country, but the world, and how important these Americans are to powering our nation’s economy.

 

“The formation of the board represents Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of these individuals’ diverse skill sets and ideas that can improve the lives of those in agricultural communities. Mr. Trump has received widespread support from voters who understand he is the only candidate with the best interests of the agricultural community at the heart of his policies.

 

“Mr. Trump said, ‘The members of my agricultural advisory committee represent the best that America can offer to help serve agricultural communities. Many of these officials have been elected by their communities to solve the issues that impact our rural areas every day. I’m very proud to stand with these men and women, and look forward to serving those who serve all Americans from the White House.’”

 

Executive board members will convene on a regular basis. The more than 60 advisory board members include:

 

Charles Herbster–National Chairman of the Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee for the Donald J. Trump Campaign for President.

 

Sam Clovis– National Chief Policy Advisor for the Donald J. Trump Campaign for President.

 

Rebeckah Adcock–CropLife, Senior Director, Government Affairs.

 

Robert Aderholt–Congressman from Alabama; Chairman, Subcommittee on Agriculture.

 

Jay Armstrong–Kansas Wheat Commission; Chairman, Farm Foundation.

 

Gary Black– Commissioner of Agriculture, Georgia.

 

John Block– Former Secretary of Agriculture.

 

Mike Brandenburg–State Legislator, North Dakota.

 

Terry Branstad–Governor of Iowa.

 

Sam Brownback–Governor of Kansas.

 

Chuck Conner–CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

 

Mike Conaway–House Agriculture Committee Chairman.

 

Jack Dalrymple–Governor of North Dakota.

 

Dennis Daugaard–Governor of South Dakota.

 

Rodney Davis–Congressman from Illinois; House Agriculture Committee and Subcommittee Chair of Bio Tech.

 

Mary Fallin–Governor of Oklahoma.

 

Eddie Fields–Senator, Oklahoma; Chair Senate Ag and Rural Development.

 

Steve Foglesong–Former President National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

 

Jim Gilmore–Former Governor Virginia; Chairman of Report on Terrorism and Agro-Terrorism.

 

Bob Goodale–Former CEO of Harris Teeter.

 

Bob Goodlatte–Congressman, Virginia; Former Chairman House Agriculture Committee.

 

Ron Heck–Iowa farmer and Past President of the American Soybean Assn.

 

Mike McCloskey CEO Fair Oaks Farms- one of largest dairies in U.S.

 

Beau McCoy State Senator; Nebraska Nat. Chr. Council State Govts

 

Ted McKinney Former Director of Global Corp. Affairs for Elanco Animal Health

 

Sid Miller Commissioner of Agriculture, Texas

 

Jim Moseley Former consultant on agriculture at EPA; Former Deputy Secretary of USDA

 

Garry Niemeyer–Former President National Corn Growers.

 

Sonny Perdue–Former Gov. Georgia.

 

Rick Perry–Former Gov. Texas.

 

Pat Roberts–U.S. Senator Kansas.

 

Marcus Rust–CEO Rose Acre Farms, second largest egg producer in U.S.

 

Kip Tom–CEO, Tom Farms LLC, largest agri-business farm operator in Indiana; Operates farms in South America.

 

Johnny Trotter–CEO of BarG, 125,000 head of cattle feedlot operation and farms 10,000 acres in TX.

 

Steve Wellman–Former President of the American Soybean Association.

 

***

 

REPORT SHOWS U.S. FOOD SUPPLY CONTAMINATED WITH GLYPHOSATE

 

Food Democracy Now! and the Detox Project are releasing a 26-page report that shows that America’s food supply is contaminated with alarming levels of glyphosate residues.

 

As the main active ingredient in Monsanto’s bestselling weedkiller, Roundup, both Roundup and glyphosate have been linked to a host of negative health impacts, including birth defects, reproductive problems, lowered immune response, irritable bowel syndrome, harmful imbalances in gut microflora, and cancer.

 

The report details the latest independent peer reviewed science that conclusively shows that Roundup and glyphosate are significantly more harmful at much lower levels than previously thought and outlines the significant flaws in the U.S. regulatory system that has left the American public exposed to high levels of a toxic chemical, which last year the World Health Organization linked to cancer.

 

Food Democracy Now! and the Detox Project are demanding that the EPA Inspector General’s office launch a non-partisan investigation into glyphosate’s likely negative human health impacts reviewing the latest scientific research; halt the use of Roundup on important food crops, and uncover possible misconduct between U.S. regulators and the chemical industry they are supposed to regulate.

 

Using an independent FDA-registered laboratory, scientists found alarming levels of glyphosate residues in many popular American food products, including General Mills’ Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran, Special K and Frosted Flakes, and PepsiCo’s Doritos, Ritz Crackers and Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips, as part of a unique testing project designed to reveal pesticide exposure at real world levels.

 

Even more disturbing is that the highest glyphosate levels were found in General Mills’ Cheerios, one of the first foods that American mothers commonly feed their young children when they begin eating solid foods. Glyphosate residues for Cheerios, measured at 1,125.3 parts per billion (ppb), were simply off the chart and much higher than the 28 other food products tested.

 

New scientific evidence shows that possible harm from glyphosate can begin at much lower levels, even as low as 0.1 ppb. Credible independent peer reviewed studies published in 2014 and 2015 found that rats exposed to 0.1 ppb of Roundup and 0.05 ppb of glyphosate could cause severe organ damage and alter gene function of over 4,000 genes in the livers and kidneys of rats. These new findings should be a wake-up call for all Americans regarding unacceptable levels of pesticide residues in our nation’s food.

 

This report comes after more than a year and a half investigation into the massive U.S. regulatory failures that have left the American public not only in the dark about glyphosate contamination in our food supply, but also regularly exposed to levels of this toxic weedkiller that emerging science is now demonstrating to be more hazardous to human health than previously thought.

 

New independent research shows that harm from Monsanto’s Roundup and glyphosate-based herbicides can begin at much lower levels than previously thought. The new research shows that endocrine disrupting chemicals can disrupt basic hormone functions at ultra-low levels. U.S. regulations must reflect latest scientific research to protect our health and that of our children.

 

In addition, glyphosate is also patented as an antimicrobial agent. This has raised alarm among scientists who believe that low level exposure to glyphosate can negatively disrupt beneficial bacteria in the gut biome the way it does in the soil, leading to whole host of human health problems that doctors are just beginning to understand.

 

For the past 20 plus years, U.S. regulators have refused to test for glyphosate residues even though it’s the most widely used weedkiller in the U.S. and its use has exploded in the past two decades due to the widespread adoption of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMO crops. Today more than 300 million pounds of glyphosate-based weedkillers are sprayed across U.S. farmland, public parks and lawns and home gardens. Use of Roundup has become so pervasive that 75 percent of rainwater samples in the Midwest tested positive for glyphosate, according to Food Democracy Now!

 

On March 20, 2015, 17 leading scientific experts from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans,” which should have served as a call-to-action for U.S. regulators. Instead, the U.S. EPA issued a final report that agreed with Monsanto’s rebuttal, which called the IARC’s report “junk science.” This is why Food Democracy Now! is calling for an investigation of possible regulatory misconduct at the EPA by the EPA’s inspector general.

 

Currently, U.S. regulators allow what is considered a very high level of daily glyphosate residue in America’s food. In the U.S., the EPA set the daily acceptable intake (ADI) limit at 1.75 parts per million (ppm) per kilogram of bodyweight per day in the U.S., versus a more responsible level at 0.3 ppm in the European Union based on their review of the same studies submitted to the EPA. That’s six times the European level now allowed in the U.S. food supply.

 

The U.S. government’s continued reliance on Monsanto-funded science and their refusal to consider the most current independent peer reviewed scientific research is alarming, especially considering the fact that the regulators at the FDA are currently reviewing a 15-year re-approval of Monsanto’s Roundup and glyphosate-based herbicides based on out-of-date science.

 

You can share this report by following this link: http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/2047?t=15&akid=1946.101853._11J9w

 

What else you’ll find in the report:

 

  1. Levels of glyphosate residues found in popular American foods.
  2. A summary of what the latest independent scientific research says about the safety of Roundup and glyphosate.
  3. A detailed analysis of why the current U.S. EPA’s acceptable daily intake (ADI) is much too high.
  4. Evidence that regulators in Europe considered the U.S. ADI to be “very high” and “far outside the range” of what chemical companies other than Monsanto submitted for safety approvals.
  5. Scientific evidence that refutes Monsanto’s claim that glyphosate does not accumulate in the human body.
  6. A call to action-–to investigate regulatory collusion at the EPA, end the practice of pre-harvest spraying of Roundup on food crop, and a call to release all the scientific data submitted by Monsanto for safety assessments.

 

Editor’s addendum: I don’t want to sound defeatist, but with Trump’s climate change denier Myron Ebell set to head up the EPA, I think there’s not much chance that glyphosate poisoning will be remediated so long as agribiz and biotech rules in Washington. The answer, of course, is to eat organic food. –J.C.

 

###

 

 

 




A Website to Enhance and Protect the Health of Mother Earth

Organic Lifestyle Comments (0)

It It was really heartening to hear that at recent meetings in Europe, the idea was brought forth that the many-faceted movements and groups concerned with the health of the environment, the health of our food and farming systems, the health of the ecological web of life on our planet, and the mental and spiritual health of the human beings on this plant need to coalesce into a meta-movement that includes them all.

Is there really any difference between the Native Americans who are standing up for pure water and conservationists who want to protect our rivers and oceans? Is there any fundamental difference between those who want to stop chemical corporations from polluting the land and waters of the earth from those folks who want to purchase organic food because they know it won’t contain agricultural chemicals, antibiotics, and GMOs? And is there any difference between those who want to arrest and reverse climate change and those who want to convert our energy systems from carbon-based exploitation of fossil fuels to renewable, clean energy sources? I could name a hundred NGOs that want rational environmental change and whose purposes dovetail with all these others.

We need to get together.

What would that look like if all of us banded together to promote environmental improvement? First of all, we’d need to coalesce around a single idea that connects us all. Very simply, that idea is health. The word “health” contains the word “heal,” and the aim of all our groups is to heal the sores, cankers, and diseases caused by rapacious modern industry. The diseases show up in disruptions to the planet’s healthy ecosystems, in the participants in the environmental web of life, in the mutated amphibians, sick waterfowl, and disappearing species of the great extinction we’re going through. The word “health” is also related to the word “whole.” In this case, wholeness refers to the situation where all available environmental niches are filled with functioning participants. In other words, where a natural system is most biodiverse, it is most healthy.

Biodiversity is the key to health. Any ecosystem has a set of trophic niches ready to be filled. A trophic niche is a place in the system that not only has food for a creature, but a beneficial role for that creature to play. That’s why the die-off of creatures in the great “Sixth Extinction” we’re going through is so destructive. Every unfilled trophic niche in an ecosystem is an opportunity for a disruptive creature or organism to fill it and take over, causing great harm.

Mental and spiritual health likewise flow from an attunement with nature. We are all the children of nature; Gaia—the living organism that is the earth–is our mother. We do not know better than nature how to conduct ourselves. Our task is to understand nature—her laws, tendencies, energies, directions, movements—and pattern our social and economic systems on her. If you take notice, nature’s arrangements are all sustainable. Everything else is, by definition, unsustainable and will eventually collapse.

So yes, let’s erect the big tent under which all those people and organizations working for the health of the planet and those creatures who live on it can find a home. Together we can assail the forces working against that goal. We don’t have much time. Climate change is fast upon us. Species extinction is progressing rapidly. Huge multinational corporations are taking over world agriculture and poisoning the earth. If we stay separated into little fiefdoms, caring only about our own narrow interests, we will not succeed.

But together we will prevail. Hence I’ve registered www.gaiashealth.com as the umbrella and big tent under which any and all organizations and individuals who are working to promote the health of the planet and its creatures can shelter.

I will be working to have Gaia-friendly institutions around the world gather at this website. If you want to help out, simply nominate organizations, institutions, and individuals you know are working to protect and enhance the health of Mother Earth.

***

KEEPING AN EYE ON THE ORANGE ONE

With the election of Donald Trump as President, we can only hope that his campaign promises were just rhetoric and that he really doesn’t plan to abrogate the Climate Change Agreement, revoke the nuclear deal with Iran, lend government support to increased use of fossil fuels, and so many others.

But until we see otherwise, we can only believe that he meant what he said regarding these environmental treaties and issues. For progressives, his election and Republican control of Congress appears to be the recipe for an unmitigated disaster.

It therefore behooves the environmentally concerned to watch the actions of Trump, Congress, and the future right-wing Supreme Court carefully. On November 11, Trump gave us a clue as to his policies on the environment. In looking for someone to follow through on his campaign vow to dismantle one of the Obama administration’s signature climate change policies, Trump probably could not have found a better candidate for the job than Myron Ebell.

According to The New York Times, “Mr. Ebell, who revels in taking on the scientific consensus on global warming, will be Mr. Trump’s lead agent in choosing personnel and setting the direction of the federal agencies that address climate change and environmental policy more broadly.

“Mr. Ebell, whose organization is financed in part by the coal industry, has been one of the most vocal opponents of the linchpin of that policy, the Clean Power Plan. Developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the plan is a far-reaching set of regulations that, by seeking to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation, could result in the closing of many coal-burning power plants, among other effects.”

And what will Ebell be doing in the Trump administration? He’s been picked to head up the EPA.

***

HYDROPONIC IMPORTS BEING SOLD AS ORGANIC

An organic industry watchdog contends the USDA has quietly allowed a flood of hydroponically-produced fruits and vegetables, largely imported, to be illegally labeled and sold as “organic.”

This produce is generally grown under artificial lighting, indoors, and on an industrial scale. The Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute has filed a formal legal complaint against some of the largest agribusinesses involved in the practice and their organic certifying agents.

The controversy will come to a head in mid-November, when the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is expected to vote at its semiannual meeting in St. Louis on whether or not hydroponic operations (growing without soil) should be legalized for organic certification. This vote comes six years after the NOSB initially reaffirmed that hydroponics and aquaponics should be prohibited under the organic label.

Disregarding that prohibition, the USDA has allowed over 100 foreign and domestic soil-less operations to become certified organic, creating unfair competition for soil-based U.S. growers. The U.S. is an outlier in international commerce as most countries prohibit the organic certification of soil-less hydroponic produce, including the 28 countries of the European Union (EU), Mexico, Japan, and Canada.

“Astute consumers have turned to organics to procure fruits and vegetables for their family knowing that certified farmers do a better job of stewarding the land by nurturing the complex biological ecosystem in the soil, which creates nutrient-dense, superior food,” said Mark Kastel, senior farm policy analyst at The Cornucopia Institute. “Hydroponic and container systems rely on liquid fertilizers developed from conventional crops or waste products. Suggesting that they should qualify for organic labeling is a specious argument.”

The Cornucopia complaint specifically targets two of the giants in U.S. hydroponic production, the organic berry behemoth, Driscoll’s, and a major tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper producer, Wholesum Harvest. Both agribusinesses have production in the U.S. and Mexico and are certified by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and Quality Assurance International (QAI), respectively.

Pioneers of the organic movement, including the “Agrarian Elders” and other diversified farmers, are incensed by the rise of “organic” hydroponics and are leading the “Keep the Soil in Organic” movement. They are witnessing firsthand the displacement of domestic organic produce with hydroponic versions.

These organic farmers argue that organic agriculture has always been entirely centered on the biological complexity found in properly managed, fertile soil. Iconic farmer and author, Eliot Coleman, of Maine explains, “The phrase ‘organic hydroponic’ is an oxymoron—a figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear in conjunction. Hydroponic growers produce crops in sterile surroundings and douse plant roots with liquid nutrients that can never begin to duplicate the biological complexity of fertile soil.”

In addition, organic hydroponic produce, whether imported or grown by giant agribusinesses in the U.S., is not identified in the marketplace. Consumers have no way of knowing if the berries, tomatoes, peppers, or cucumbers they are purchasing are truly organic.

The Cornucopia Institute has engaged the public by distributing a proxy letter to organic stakeholders (available as a download through the hydroponics link in the projects tab on their website). The organization says it has already received thousands of originally signed letters which they will hand deliver to the NOSB at their St. Louis meeting starting November 16.

“There is a higher authority than the USDA, or even the federal courts, in these matters,” said Kastel, “and that’s the community of organic farmers, and their loyal customers who vote every day in the marketplace with their dollars. They are clearly voicing their opposition to the faux organic production that is flooding the marketplace.”

What’s not even mentioned is the energy needed to power artificial lighting to grow crops hydroponically. Crops grown outdoors have a free, sustainable, and very powerful light source: the sun.

***

ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANT BACTERIA IN CONVENTIONAL POULTRY

A new study published in the scientific journal Clinical Infectious Diseases has found evidence that an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus can be transmitted to consumers via grocery store poultry meat. Robert Skov, a lead researcher on the paper, said in a statement, “At present, meat products represent only a minor transmission route for MRSA to humans, but our findings nevertheless underscore the importance of reducing the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals as well as continuing surveillance of the animal-food-human interface.”

***

ORGANIC FARMING BOOSTS YIELDS, UPS PEST CONTROL

Organic farming increases biological control of pests and yields in barley
A recent study published in Landscape Ecology has reaffirmed that organic farming leads to greater yields and pest control by supporting natural predators, and demonstrated that these benefits associated with organic farming are maintained regardless of the surrounding landscape.

***

LESS ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT E. COLI IN ORGANIC PIGS

A study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE tested swine from four different European countries—Denmark, France, Italy, and Sweden—and found that those raised on organic farms consistently harbored less antibiotic-resistant E. coli than swine raised on conventional farms. “For all four countries, resistance was substantially lower in organic than conventional pigs…This knowledge, together with a continued effort to improve animal health and thereby reduce the overall need for antibiotics, would be valuable to reduce antibiotic resistance without compromising animal welfare,” the authors concluded.

###
was really heartening to hear that at recent meetings in Europe, the idea was brought forth that the many-faceted movements and groups concerned with the health of the environment, the health of our food and farming systems, the health of the ecological web of life on our planet, and the mental and spiritual health of the human beings on this plant need to coalesce into a meta-movement that includes them all.

Is there really any difference between the Native Americans who are standing up for pure water and conservationists who want to protect our rivers and oceans? Is there any fundamental difference between those who want to stop chemical corporations from polluting the land and waters of the earth from those folks who want to purchase organic food because they know it won’t contain agricultural chemicals, antibiotics, and GMOs? And is there any difference between those who want to arrest and reverse climate change and those who want to convert our energy systems from carbon-based exploitation of fossil fuels to renewable, clean energy sources? I could name a hundred NGOs that want rational environmental change and whose purposes dovetail with all these others.

We need to get together.

What would that look like if all of us banded together to promote environmental improvement? First of all, we’d need to coalesce around a single idea that connects us all. Very simply, that idea is health. The word “health” contains the word “heal,” and the aim of all our groups is to heal the sores, cankers, and diseases caused by rapacious modern industry. The diseases show up in disruptions to the planet’s healthy ecosystems, in the participants in the environmental web of life, in the mutated amphibians, sick waterfowl, and disappearing species of the great extinction we’re going through. The word “health” is also related to the word “whole.” In this case, wholeness refers to the situation where all available environmental niches are filled with functioning participants. In other words, where a natural system is most biodiverse, it is most healthy.

Biodiversity is the key to health. Any ecosystem has a set of trophic niches ready to be filled. A trophic niche is a place in the system that not only has food for a creature, but a beneficial role for that creature to play. That’s why the die-off of creatures in the great “Sixth Extinction” we’re going through is so destructive. Every unfilled trophic niche in an ecosystem is an opportunity for a disruptive creature or organism to fill it and take over, causing great harm.

Mental and spiritual health likewise flow from an attunement with nature. We are all the children of nature; Gaia—the living organism that is the earth–is our mother. We do not know better than nature how to conduct ourselves. Our task is to understand nature—her laws, tendencies, energies, directions, movements—and pattern our social and economic systems on her. If you take notice, nature’s arrangements are all sustainable. Everything else is, by definition, unsustainable and will eventually collapse.

So yes, let’s erect the big tent under which all those people and organizations working for the health of the planet and those creatures who live on it can find a home. Together we can assail the forces working against that goal. We don’t have much time. Climate change is fast upon us. Species extinction is progressing rapidly. Huge multinational corporations are taking over world agriculture and poisoning the earth. If we stay separated into little fiefdoms, caring only about our own narrow interests, we will not succeed.

But together we will prevail. Hence I’ve registered www.gaiashealth.com as the umbrella and big tent under which any and all organizations and individuals who are working to promote the health of the planet and its creatures can shelter.

I will be working to have Gaia-friendly institutions around the world gather at this website. If you want to help out, simply nominate organizations, institutions, and individuals you know are working to protect and enhance the health of Mother Earth.

***

KEEPING AN EYE ON THE ORANGE ONE

With the election of Donald Trump as President, we can only hope that his campaign promises were just rhetoric and that he really doesn’t plan to abrogate the Climate Change Agreement, revoke the nuclear deal with Iran, lend government support to increased use of fossil fuels, and so many others.

But until we see otherwise, we can only believe that he meant what he said regarding these environmental treaties and issues. For progressives, his election and Republican control of Congress appears to be the recipe for an unmitigated disaster.

It therefore behooves the environmentally concerned to watch the actions of Trump, Congress, and the future right-wing Supreme Court carefully. On November 11, Trump gave us a clue as to his policies on the environment. In looking for someone to follow through on his campaign vow to dismantle one of the Obama administration’s signature climate change policies, Trump probably could not have found a better candidate for the job than Myron Ebell.

According to The New York Times, “Mr. Ebell, who revels in taking on the scientific consensus on global warming, will be Mr. Trump’s lead agent in choosing personnel and setting the direction of the federal agencies that address climate change and environmental policy more broadly.

“Mr. Ebell, whose organization is financed in part by the coal industry, has been one of the most vocal opponents of the linchpin of that policy, the Clean Power Plan. Developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the plan is a far-reaching set of regulations that, by seeking to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation, could result in the closing of many coal-burning power plants, among other effects.”

And what will Ebell be doing in the Trump administration? He’s been picked to head up the EPA.

***

HYDROPONIC IMPORTS BEING SOLD AS ORGANIC

An organic industry watchdog contends the USDA has quietly allowed a flood of hydroponically-produced fruits and vegetables, largely imported, to be illegally labeled and sold as “organic.”

This produce is generally grown under artificial lighting, indoors, and on an industrial scale. The Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute has filed a formal legal complaint against some of the largest agribusinesses involved in the practice and their organic certifying agents.

The controversy will come to a head in mid-November, when the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is expected to vote at its semiannual meeting in St. Louis on whether or not hydroponic operations (growing without soil) should be legalized for organic certification. This vote comes six years after the NOSB initially reaffirmed that hydroponics and aquaponics should be prohibited under the organic label.

Disregarding that prohibition, the USDA has allowed over 100 foreign and domestic soil-less operations to become certified organic, creating unfair competition for soil-based U.S. growers. The U.S. is an outlier in international commerce as most countries prohibit the organic certification of soil-less hydroponic produce, including the 28 countries of the European Union (EU), Mexico, Japan, and Canada.

“Astute consumers have turned to organics to procure fruits and vegetables for their family knowing that certified farmers do a better job of stewarding the land by nurturing the complex biological ecosystem in the soil, which creates nutrient-dense, superior food,” said Mark Kastel, senior farm policy analyst at The Cornucopia Institute. “Hydroponic and container systems rely on liquid fertilizers developed from conventional crops or waste products. Suggesting that they should qualify for organic labeling is a specious argument.”

The Cornucopia complaint specifically targets two of the giants in U.S. hydroponic production, the organic berry behemoth, Driscoll’s, and a major tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper producer, Wholesum Harvest. Both agribusinesses have production in the U.S. and Mexico and are certified by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and Quality Assurance International (QAI), respectively.

Pioneers of the organic movement, including the “Agrarian Elders” and other diversified farmers, are incensed by the rise of “organic” hydroponics and are leading the “Keep the Soil in Organic” movement. They are witnessing firsthand the displacement of domestic organic produce with hydroponic versions.

These organic farmers argue that organic agriculture has always been entirely centered on the biological complexity found in properly managed, fertile soil. Iconic farmer and author, Eliot Coleman, of Maine explains, “The phrase ‘organic hydroponic’ is an oxymoron—a figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear in conjunction. Hydroponic growers produce crops in sterile surroundings and douse plant roots with liquid nutrients that can never begin to duplicate the biological complexity of fertile soil.”

In addition, organic hydroponic produce, whether imported or grown by giant agribusinesses in the U.S., is not identified in the marketplace. Consumers have no way of knowing if the berries, tomatoes, peppers, or cucumbers they are purchasing are truly organic.

The Cornucopia Institute has engaged the public by distributing a proxy letter to organic stakeholders (available as a download through the hydroponics link in the projects tab on their website). The organization says it has already received thousands of originally signed letters which they will hand deliver to the NOSB at their St. Louis meeting starting November 16.

“There is a higher authority than the USDA, or even the federal courts, in these matters,” said Kastel, “and that’s the community of organic farmers, and their loyal customers who vote every day in the marketplace with their dollars. They are clearly voicing their opposition to the faux organic production that is flooding the marketplace.”

What’s not even mentioned is the energy needed to power artificial lighting to grow crops hydroponically. Crops grown outdoors have a free, sustainable, and very powerful light source: the sun.

***

ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANT BACTERIA IN CONVENTIONAL POULTRY

A new study published in the scientific journal Clinical Infectious Diseases has found evidence that an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus can be transmitted to consumers via grocery store poultry meat. Robert Skov, a lead researcher on the paper, said in a statement, “At present, meat products represent only a minor transmission route for MRSA to humans, but our findings nevertheless underscore the importance of reducing the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals as well as continuing surveillance of the animal-food-human interface.”

***

ORGANIC FARMING BOOSTS YIELDS, UPS PEST CONTROL

Organic farming increases biological control of pests and yields in barley
A recent study published in Landscape Ecology has reaffirmed that organic farming leads to greater yields and pest control by supporting natural predators, and demonstrated that these benefits associated with organic farming are maintained regardless of the surrounding landscape.

***

LESS ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT E. COLI IN ORGANIC PIGS

A study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE tested swine from four different European countries—Denmark, France, Italy, and Sweden—and found that those raised on organic farms consistently harbored less antibiotic-resistant E. coli than swine raised on conventional farms. “For all four countries, resistance was substantially lower in organic than conventional pigs…This knowledge, together with a continued effort to improve animal health and thereby reduce the overall need for antibiotics, would be valuable to reduce antibiotic resistance without compromising animal welfare,” the authors concluded.

###




NY Times Reports Doubts about GMOs

Organic Lifestyle Comments (0)

Danny Hakimoct of The New York Times has investigated GMOs and began his article on the front page of October 29 this way:

“The controversy over genetically modified crops has long focused on largely unsubstantiated fears that they are unsafe to eat. But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.

“The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides.

“Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents, using independent data as well as academic and industry research, shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise. Europe did not embrace the technology, yet it has achieved increases in yield and decreases in pesticide use on a par with, or even better than, the United States, where genetically modified crops are widely grown.

“An analysis by The Times using United Nations data showed that the United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields — food per acre — when measured against Western Europe, a region with comparably modernized agricultural producers like France and Germany. Also, a recent National Academy of Sciences report found that “there was little evidence” that the introduction of genetically modified crops in the United States had led to yield gains beyond those seen in conventional crops.

“At the same time, herbicide use has increased in the United States, even as major crops like corn, soybeans and cotton have been converted to GMO varieties. And the United States has fallen behind Europe’s biggest producer, France, in reducing the overall use of pesticides, which includes both herbicides and insecticides.

“One measure, contained in data from the United States Geological Survey, shows the stark difference in the use of pesticides. Since genetically modified crops were introduced in the United States two decades ago for crops like corn, cotton and soybeans, the use of toxins that kill insects and fungi has fallen by a third, but the spraying of herbicides, which are used in much higher volumes, has risen by 21 percent.

“By contrast, in France, use of insecticides and fungicides has fallen by a far greater percentage — 65 percent — and herbicide use has decreased as well, by 36 percent.
Profound differences over genetic engineering have split Americans and Europeans for decades. Although American protesters as far back as 1987 pulled up prototype potato plants, European anger at the idea of fooling with nature has been far more sustained.”

Although Hakimoct doesn’t mention it in these paragraphs, Monsanto is the corporation behind the introduction of GMO crops and is also the purveyor of glyphosate herbicide, which, as the report points out, has risen steeply in the United States since GMOs were introduced 20 years ago. Maybe that was the idea all along. If so, it’s a diabolically ingenious way to sell more herbicide.

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WHAT’S THE UPSHOT OF THE MONSANTO TRIBUNAL IN THE HAGUE?

On October 14-16, over a thousand activists, journalists and witnesses from around the world gathered in The Hague, Netherlands, headquarters of the International Court of Justice, to put Monsanto on trial for crimes against humanity and nature (“ecocide”), according to Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association.

Before a distinguished international panel of judges, 30 witnesses—including farmers, consumers, scientists, indigenous people, and former governmental officials—from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North and South America, delivered detailed and shocking testimony on how Monsanto and its agribusiness accomplices have poisoned the environment and devastated public health.

Victims and witnesses described how, over the past 50 years, Monsanto has duped, assaulted, injured, and killed farmers, farmworkers, rural villagers, and urban consumers with its reckless use of toxic chemicals and pesticides (PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange, Dioxin, Roundup, 2,4D), and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The insidious political clout and growing control over the world’s seeds and food by Monsanto and a new global agribusiness cartel constitute a serious, indeed catastrophic, threat to our health as well as to the health of our soils, watersheds, oceans, wetlands, forests and climate.

Monsanto’s chemical- and fossil fuel-intensive GMO crops (corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets, eggplant, potatoes, alfalfa, and others) and the toxic pesticides used to grow them are now polluting 400 million acres in 28 nations, comprising almost 10 percent of the world’s croplands. As a result, GMO ingredients and pesticide residues now contaminate much, if not most, of the world’s (non-organic) processed foods, animal feed, meat, dairy and poultry. Meanwhile GMO soy and chemical-intensive palm oil plantations, commodities utilized for junk food, animal feed, cosmetics, and biofuels, are the primary driving forces of the tropical deforestation that threatens to smother the literal lungs of the planet, as well as most of the planet’s biodiversity.

From Sri Lanka, India, Argentina, Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, and dozens of other nations, including the industrialized nations of the North, the same tragic, brutal, criminal, narrative emerged: Monsanto, aided and abetted by its shareholders and business allies, has deliberately poisoned people, communities and the environment in order to maximize profits. Meanwhile, indentured scientists, politicians and mass media—Monsanto’s minions—have done little or nothing to stop this mass homicide and ecocide.

For 20 years, Monsanto, with its army of lawyers and PR flacks, has spread lies in the mass media and scientific journals; intimidated or sued farmers and scientific critics, and infiltrated or bribed politicians, regulatory officials and academics.

As the Corporate Europe Observatory put it: “Corporations like Monsanto have limitless resources to buy political power through lobbying. Not only are they represented by numerous lobbying associations at every level from local to global, they also have an army of hired gun lobbyists, fund scientists to act as their mouthpiece, and participate in ‘greenwashing’ projects.’”

In addition, Monsanto has routinely carried out acts of biopiracy—robbing indigenous communities and traditional farmers of their knowledge, plants, and seeds and then patenting these life forms as their corporate “intellectual property.” Overturning or simply ignoring national laws, common law, farmer and consumer rights, and international trade and environmental norms, Monsanto and the other, now merging, chemical-biotech giants (Dow, Dupont, Syngenta, ChinaChem, Bayer, BASF) have essentially organized themselves into a powerful and monopolistic global cartel.

This Monsanto-led cartel, drawing comparisons to the Nazi I.G. Farben cartel of the 1930s and 40s, has managed to gain a certain degree of public, media and scientific acceptance by repeating its “big lies” over and over again in the mass media, including: (1) toxic industrial and agricultural chemicals are safe; (2) seeds and life forms can legitimately be patented and monopolized; (3) GMO crops use less pesticides and chemicals; (4) GMO crops are the only way to feed the world; (5) genetically engineered crops and trees and the chemicals sprayed or laced into them are climate friendly; and (6) Foods derived from GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to non-GMOs.

By destroying the health and livelihoods of literally millions of people, Monsanto has earned the dubious distinction of being the most hated corporation on Earth. No wonder the Biotech Bully of St. Louis is currently trying to change its name and bury the historical record of 115 years of crime and mayhem by merging with the giant chemical, biotech, and pharmaceutical giant, Bayer.

Monsanto refused to appear and testify at the Tribunal, despite being served with a citizens’ subpoena in St. Louis. But on December 10, the Tribunal judges plan to issue legal advisory opinions based upon international law, including the category of human rights violations that fall under the category of “ecocide.”

While the Monsanto Tribunal was busy putting the multinational corporation on trial under international law, a few miles away across the city, 500 global activists participated in the People’s Assembly, where they discussed how to further expose Monsanto and its industrial agriculture collaborators in the court of public opinion.

The Assembly held three days of interactive workshops on how to strengthen national and international public education, and how to use boycotts and marketplace pressure campaigns to undermine and destroy Monsanto’s profitability and eventually drive it (and companies like it) off the market. The People’s Assembly was organized and funded by a broad coalition of organizations including Regeneration International, Navdanya (a grassroots based organization in India founded by Vandana Shiva), IFOAM Organics, Organic Consumers Association, Biovision, Via Campesina, Corporate European Observatory, and others.

Ultimately the People’s Assembly agreed that we need to not only get rid of Monsanto, but the entire degenerative system of food, farming, and land use that is driving global warming, catastrophic droughts and floods, soil erosion, desertification, water shortages, mass biodiversity loss, rural poverty and war, and deteriorating public health.

Leading farmer and campaign activists around the world led the workshops on GMOs, pesticides, seeds, corporate accountability, agroecology, and regenerative agriculture. Sessions included: How to Ban GMOs Worldwide; Strategies and Campaigns to Ban Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals; Steps toward Seed Freedom and Struggles Against Unjust Seed Laws; How to Hold Transnational Corporations Responsible for their Acts; and How We Can Mitigate and Reverse Global Warming and Feed the World.

Here are some of the major strategy ideas that came out of the workshops and plenaries:

(1) Globalize the Struggle. There’s no way to bring the Monsanto and industrial agriculture cartel to heel without organizing and successfully carrying out powerful, global, strategically designed campaigns, both in the marketplace and in the realm of public policy.
Local and even national campaigns no longer suffice. For example, the mass destruction of the Amazon rainforest, the environment and public health currently taking place in South American countries such as Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia and Argentina, brought on by the out-of-control production of GMO soy and corn and the reckless use of pesticides such as Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate), Syngenta’s atrazine and paraquat, and Bayer’s glufosinate, can be stopped only by a global North-South campaign that strengthens resistance at home, but also shuts off market demand for these GMO animal feeds in the nations where they are exported.

South Americans cannot possibly stop the deadly production of these pesticide-intensive GMOs in their own countries without the support of activists and consumers in the countries (especially China and Europe) that are importing billions of dollars of these animal feeds for their domestic factory farm production of meat, dairy and poultry. If proper laboratory testing of these GMO animal feeds can be carried out, in combination with testing for the poisons that end up in the EU and China’s meat, dairy and poultry products that are derived from them, then a mass consumer boycott can possibly be organized. Reinforcing this marketplace pressure, groups can simultaneously press for laws requiring the labeling of meat and animal products derived from GMO- and pesticide-tainted feeds. Alongside these market-based campaigns we’ll need to continue our global effort to stop cartel-friendly Free Trade agreements such as the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), and to enact a global ban on GMO companion pesticides, such as Roundup/glyphosate.

(2) Globalize Hope. A recurrent theme at the People’s Assembly was the need to move beyond gloom and doom and to emphasize that regenerative food, farming, and land use (utilizing agro-ecology, organic, agro-forestry and holistic grazing techniques) not only can mitigate global warming, deteriorating public health, rural poverty, environmental destruction, and endless war, but actually reverse these trends. One of the lesser known positive developments in the world today is that 25-50 million farmers and ranchers (5-10 percent of all producers) are already practicing regenerative agriculture practices, sequestering massive amounts of excess carbon from the atmosphere and safely storing it in the soil, grasslands, forests, and wetlands through improved soil management, crop biodiversity, reforestation, and conservation. Strengthening this regenerative agriculture movement are hundreds of millions of conscious consumers who are starting to reject GMO and factory farmed foods and are choosing organic, grass-fed, local and regenerative foods instead.

(3) Connect the Dots. Coming out of the Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly is a growing commitment among activists all over the world to move beyond language and cultural barriers, beyond national and continental borders, beyond single-issue campaigning, and to begin building a new 21st Century movement based on mutual solidarity and concrete cooperation in globally coordinated campaigns. Given the catastrophic consequences of “business as usual,” and continued domination by the global “1 percent,” we can no longer afford to operate as separate movements such as the anti-GMO movement, the organic movement, the Fair Trade movement, the economic justice movement, the climate movement, the forest movement, the ocean movement, and the anti-war movement. Nor can we operate as regional or national movements of farmers, workers, students and consumers.

We must connect the dots between interrelated issues and we must work together, from the local to the international level, with fellow leaders of the global grassroots who see the “big picture.” Harnessing the enormous power of the global grassroots, we can build a new diverse Regenerative Movement strong enough and inspirational enough to overturn the dictatorship of Monsanto and the global elite. Coming out of the Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly at The Hague, there is a new sense of urgency and determination. A critical mass of grass roots people are ready to embark on this Long March of resistance, movement-building, and regeneration.

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BIG AG WANTS HYDROPONICS, GENE EDITING AS PART OF ORGANIC RULES

When Congress passed the landmark Organic Foods Production Act in 1990 it created the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) – the unique expert 15-member citizen’s body – to advise the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) about what is appropriate for organic production. The critical role of the NOSB is to protect the interests of the organic community from attacks by corporate lobbyists sent by Industrial Agriculture to water down organic integrity.

In a decisive vote in 2010, the NOSB voted not to allow Hydroponic Production – industrialized, artificial, soil-less production systems totally reliant on imported inputs – in organics. This was a courageous – and correct position – because it recognized and respected that for the one hundred years organic farming has been around it has always been a revolutionary system of food production based on growing in and improving the soil.

So central is soil to the foundational concept of organic that its very name – ‘Organic Farming’ – originates from the life-giving organic matter content of the soil, which organic farmers know to cherish and work hard to protect and increase. As organic consumers, we all understand that healthy food comes from healthy plants grown in healthy soil. Soil is and must forever be the foundation of organic farming.

Citizens have been outraged by the reckless actions of the USDA-NOP that, ignoring that major NOSB ruling against hydroponics, has allowed corporate hydroponic operations to have their production labeled ‘Certified Organic.’

Much of this fake “organic” hydroponic production is being imported from countries like Canada, Mexico, and Holland, and would not qualify for organic certification in much of the rest of the world, including some of the countries in which it is grown.

Even worse than the current efforts to undermine soil-based organic farming is a brand new effort by the corporate organic self-promoters at the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and UNFI (United Natural Foods Incorporated) announcing they want to consider new “gene editing” techniques to be allowed in organic food production. That’s right, the same people who sold us out on GMO labeling are now trying to sneak the latest genetic engineering techniques into organic standards.

In a September 22 blog earlier this year, OTA board member and UNFI lobbyist Melody Meyer wrote about allowing “gene editing,” a new form of genetic engineering, into organic standards-–a clear sign that the OTA and the corporate paymasters at UNFI want to include these new techniques over the objections of virtually all organic farmers and consumers.

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NATIVE HAWAIIANS VIE TO OUST PRO-GMO MAUI COUNCIL

While national attention is focused on the important North Dakota Pipeline protests by native people and earth justice activists, a similar battle for water and land is being led by native Hawaiians on Maui to take back power from Maui Council’s Monsanto-boosting majority.

A “Maui Ohana”(family) slate of nine native Hawaiians and grassroots housing and environmental activists are running in a historic election this November that may replace the Maui County Council’s pro-GMO majority and bring ecological stewardship of land and water to center stage across the islands.

Aina Protectors United leader Alika Atay speaks for the earth, his ancestors, and future generations when he says. “I am speaking for the land, for the water, for the children. Everything we do has a connection to the earth and our resources.

“Given our responsibility under Aloha Aina, we must stand up and protect. We have to look at the damage heavy chemical pesticides are doing to the soil and the aquifer. Not only what affects us now but more so the long-term future concerns. What kind of water will our future generations have to drink?”

That is the same question being asked by the Native Americans and earth activists who have converged near the banks of the Missouri River in North Dakota. The difference in Maui is that instead of protesting against the government, they stand a decent chance of becoming the government.

“We the people have the power,” Atay says. “We the people are going to make this change.”

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NUMBERS OF WILD VERTEBRATES ON EARTH PLUMMETING, REPORT SAYS

The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds of its 1970 level by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends. The Living Planet Index, compiled by researchers from World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London, shows that vertebrate populations are set to decline by 67 percent from 1970 levels unless urgent action is taken to reduce humanity’s impact.

The collapse of wildlife is, with climate change, the most striking sign of the Anthropocene, a proposed new geological era in which humans dominate the planet. Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF, said: “Lose biodiversity and the natural world and the life support systems as we know them today will collapse.”

I, Jeff Cox, have been learning and writing about health, wholeness, ecology, organics, and humanity’s reliance on the natural world since 1970. I can sum up what I’ve learned over these 46 years in one sentence:

The greater the biodiversity, the healthier the ecosystem.

So this report, if accurate, is sickeningly disturbing. The quality of human life is diminished with the disappearance of any species, great or small, and by the disappearance of the numbers of that species. For, as Shakespeare said, “Nought so vile that on the earth doth live, but to the earth some special good doth give.”

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Sonoma County Health Inspectors Harass Heirloom Expo Vendors

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This year, for the first time in the history of the National Heirloom Exposition at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California, local county health inspectors showed up and started harassing vendors for things like allowing visitors to taste test organic apples before they bought them, Food Democracy Now reports.

 

Not only that, this year a visitor from Monsanto showed up with a camera and a hidden video recorder. When asked what he was doing, he said that he was there to find out more about the genetics behind all the diversity of heirloom seeds at the festival. That’s certainly within his rights, but why the hidden equipment?

 

It’s hard to know what’s changed from the previous five years of the Expo’s existence, but it’s suspicious that this year someone from Monsanto shows up, and then people start getting harassed.

 

Here’s how the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported the situation: “Vendors and exhibitors at a popular natural foods event contend they were harassed and unfairly targeted by Sonoma County health inspectors who cracked down this week with fees and fines, as well as permit requirements.

 

“Organizers of the Exposition said previous health inspectors were positive and supportive of the three-day event, which ended Thursday. But this year was different.

Organizers said the treatment by health inspectors threatens the future of the Heirloom Exposition, which draws more than 15,000 people. They said it makes it challenging for the participation of backyard farmers and hobbyists who can’t give away an apple or tomato without a permit.

 

“’We feel we’re not really wanted,’ said farming entrepreneur Jere Gettle, who co-founded the Heirloom Exposition and the Petaluma Seed Bank. ‘It’s taken the heart out of the event.’” There was talk of moving the event out of Sonoma County.

 

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PESTICIDE, HERBICIDE USE ON GMO CORN AND BEANS TALLIED

 

A new study published in Science Advances (31 Aug 2016:

Vol. 2, no. 8, e1600850. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600850.) looks at how genetically engineered crops affect the use of herbicides and insecticides.

 

The study shows that farmers growing GMO soybeans used 28 percent more Roundup on their Roundup-resistant beans than farmers growing non-GMO beans. Farmers growing GMO corn used about an ounce less Roundup on 2.2 acres than farmers growing non-GMO corn. And farmers growing GMO corn that produces an insecticidal toxin in its tissues used about three one-hundredths of a pound (less than half an ounce) less pesticide on 2.2 acres than farmers growing non-insecticidal GMO corn.

 

So the application of Roundup herbicide and pesticide on corn is about the same for GMO-using farmers and regular conventional farmers, but GMO soybean growers use substantially more herbicide than their conventional non-GMO counterparts.

 

The economists conducting the study (Edward D. Perry, Federico Ciliberto, David A. Hennessy, and GianCarlo Moschini) end by noting that the change in herbicide use on soybeans is consistent with the development of Roundup resistance in weeds, and that the increase in Roundup on soybeans is due to the presence of resistant weeds.

 

Monsanto has consistently claimed that its introduction of GMO beans has led to a reduction in herbicide use, and that resistance to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) is a natural adaptation that’s not its fault. Yet Monsanto’s colleagues at Bayer, the German pesticide and chemical firm, have introduced new chemicals, such as Alion, that they guarantee will kill glyphosate-resistant broadleaf weeds.

 

Until the weeds make an adaptation to Alion as well, I might add. Tillage works well controlling weeds, and while not without its problems, at least tillage isn’t dousing America’s farmland with poison. But then, you can’t sell tillage.

 

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ORGANIC FOOD CAN HELP CONTROL SUPERBUGS

 

The Organic Center has authored an article in the Modern Wellness Guide about how organic can act as a tool to fight superbugs. In it, the group discusses how choosing organic goes beyond protecting consumers from pesticide residues; organic also reduces the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

 

These diseases have been on the rise lately, and have reached a point where the World Health Organization declared antibiotic-resistant bacteria to be a global health epidemic.

 

One of the reasons for the prevalence of superbugs is the widespread use of antibiotics in conventional agriculture as a prophylactic and growth-promoting agent. Organic, on the other hand, raises livestock without the use of antibiotics. This means that organic farming doesn’t select for microbial resistance, and can even protect consumers from coming into contact with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To examine this issue in depth, The Organic Center developed and published a report showing how organic can be used as a model to produce healthful food while preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance.

 

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SOCIAL, FAMILY STRESS INTENSIFIES PESTICIDE-RELATED EFFECTS

 

Pre-natal pesticide exposure effects greater in stressful environments

A new study published in the journal Neurotoxicology demonstrates that social stressors such as economic strain or poor learning environments can magnify the negative impacts of pre-natal exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides.

 

Researchers found that higher levels of total social stress as well as negative parent-child relationships and poor learning environments were generally correlated with lower IQs for all test subjects, but the negative correlation was significantly stronger for children of mothers who were exposed to pesticides during their pregnancy.

 

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37 MILLION BEES DEAD AFTER GMO SEEDS PLANTED NEARBY

 

Dave Schuit, a beekeeper who produces honey in Elmwood, Canada, claims that since GMO corn was planted in the nearby area, his farm has lost around 37 million bees (approximately 600 hives). According to reports, Schuit and other local beekeepers believe neonicotinoids, or “neonics” are to blame for the influx of bee deaths.

 

Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, two of Bayer CropScience’s most widely used pesticides, both contain neonics and have been linked with many large-scale bee ‘die-offs’ in both European and U.S. countries. However, despite the dangers associated with the use of this chemical, the pesticides are still regularly used and sold on the market.

 

Despite their size, the impact bees have on the environment is almost unparalleled. In fact, bees are responsible for pollinating about one-sixth of the flowering plant species worldwide and approximately 400 different agricultural types of plant.

 

In 2010, bees helped provide over $19 billion worth of agricultural crops in the U.S alone – estimated to be roughly one third of the food we eat. As a result, it is not hard to see that bees are needed to sustain our modern food system.

 

However, despite their obvious importance in our ecosystem, bee populations have been rapidly dropping over the past few decades. In fact, 44 percent of honeybee colonies in the United States died off last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported last month.

 

In the past, scientists have tried to conclude why bee populations are in rapid decline. While it is not been proven that pesticides directly kill the bees that come into contact with the chemical, many scientists believe there is a strong link between the use of the pesticide and a phenomenon they refer to as “colony collapse disorder” (CCD).

 

“We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure and other stressors are converging to kill colonies,” said Jeffery Pettis, of the ARS’s bee research laboratory.

 

While the cause of CCD is still widely debated, some believe that “the neonicotinoid pesticides are coating corn seeds, and with the use of new air seeders, are blowing pesticide dust into the air when planted.”

 

However, according to a new study published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, neonicotinoid pesticides kill honeybees by damaging their immune system and making them unable to fight diseases and bacteria.

 

Although we are unable to definitively determine what is causing the terminal decline of bee populations around the world, using all the scientific evidence that is currently available, it is clear that pesticides are having a significantly negative effect on bee populations.

 

In fact, it seems more and more countries are also beginning to accept this idea. Canada has banned the use of Imadacloprid on sunflower and corn fields; France has rejected Bayer’s application for Clothianidin; Italy has now banned certain neonicotinoids; and the European Union has banned multiple pesticides.

 

At this moment in time, EU scientists are reviewing the EU-wide ban on three neonicotinoid pesticides. By the end of January 2017, the EU scientist will finish their risk evaluation and determine the status of the chemical.

 

Although the United States have yet to follow suit, several states – including California, Alaska, New York, and Massachusetts – are currently considering legislation that would ban neonicotinoids. In fact, just last month Maryland came the first state to pass a neonic-restricting bill; Maryland’s Pollinator Protection Act has eliminated consumer use of neonicotinoids in the state.

 

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HERE’S A RAMEN SHOP WORTH GOING TO

 

Yuzu Ramen & Broffee, an authentic Japanese restaurant in Emeryville in the East Bay Area, announced they have added five new all-organic ramen dishes to their menu, and are now offering eight varieties in total. The new additions include a spicy tonkotsu, spicy gyukotsu, spicy veggie, cheesy tonkotsu, and a cheesy gyukotsu.

 

It takes three days to prepare these ramen broths. Yuzu uses organic vegetables, 100 percent grass-fed meat and bones for their ramen and broths. No antibiotics or GMOs, no artificial coloring or flavoring, and no MSG or preservatives are used. Sticking to unprocessed and organic ingredients is a core part of their business values. Almost every ingredient is delivered fresh daily from local vendors that focus on organic

 

Yuzu Ramen & Broffee is located at 1298 65th Street in Emeryville. More information: http://www.yuzurb.com/.

 

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MOVE AFOOT TO REPEAL THE DARK ACT

 

On July 31, President Obama turned his back on the 90 percent of Americans who want companies to be required to clearly state on food packages, in plain English, whether or not their products contain GMO ingredients.

 

Instead, the President signed into law the misleading, confusing, and loophole-ridden-DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.

 

We all know what happened. Monsanto’s minions in Congress passed a law that nullified Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law and essentially guarantees that here in the U.S., food companies will never be required to tell us if the products we buy are contain ingredients grown with massive amounts of Monsanto’s cancer-causing Roundup.

 

Can we repeal the DARK Act, which is now officially referred to as the “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard”? Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) thinks so. And even though it’s a long shot, we need to join forces with our allies to repeal this law. Tell your Senators to support Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s efforts to repeal the DARK Act.

 

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