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Biotech Bullies Rule

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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.







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.






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.