HR 2749: “Food Safety” Bill Has Martial Law Provisions

July 5, 2009
Food Freedom
July 5, 2009

HR 2749 is a strange bill in many ways.  While the other “food safety” bills have been around since winter, allowing for much public discussion on the internet, HR 2749 has only suddenly appeared.  It is a mutant conglomeration of the worst of the other bills, with the addition of one very original part – martial law.

When it was a draft, it was Waxman’s bill.  But once given a number, it became Dingel’s who already had a “food safety” bill, HR 759.  So Waxman got none and Dingel got two.  (Was this because Waxman, being Jewish, was a hideous choice to introduce a bill with Codex in it – designed by the Nazi pharmaceutical companies that funded Hitler, provided the gas for the gas chambers, experimented on prisoners with vaccines – and is expected to kill millions?)

* HR 2749 would give FDA the power to order a quarantine of a geographic area, including “prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or of any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area.”

[This – “that has been used to transport or hold such food” – would mean all cars that have ever brought groceries home or any pickup someone has eaten take-out in, so this means ALL TRANSPORTATION can be shut down under this.  This is using food as a cover for martial law.]

Under this provision, farmers markets and local food sources could be shut down, even if they are not the source of the contamination.  The agency can halt all movement of all food in a geographic area.

[This is also a means of total control over the population under the cover of food, and at any time.] See this DailyKos entry.

The bill is unusual, too, because slow as it was to appear. The little bugger of bill has made up for it since.  It got a number on June 10, went to committee on June 17, passed instantly, and is headed for a vote on the floor of the House.

The first Patriot Act was passed using fear of terrorism. This Patriot Act is more coy, hiding under a cloak of “food safety” and but also using fear – fear of food contamination.  Evidently, Americans are supposed to be so frightened by the slightest possibility of a terrorist or of E-coli, they would trade away all their precious, hard fought freedoms for the promise of safety.  Or at least, that is what the trade-off has become.  “Terrorism” and “contamination” are great bugaboos used to open doors to an end to the US Constitution.  That is exactly what we are left with after those who wrote HR 2749 are done.

Who did write these bills?  It seems Monsanto had not only a hand, but a “defining” influence. http://farmwars.info/?p=594

This redefining of reality is what seems to be underlying all the loss of freedom.  Normal and free are disappearing into the maw of corporate definitions of reality. See this Yup Farming piece.

So, we begin with contaminated food from filthy corporate processors and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).  And what do we end up with after that reality is ground up by corporate legal hands?  Changes in the definition of risk so that natural things are treated as dangerous and toxic things are untouched, such that:

• Healthy, normal farms are taken over by government as though they were run by criminals and contaminated corporate slaughterhouses are untouched;
• The necessary freedom of individuals to live and grow food and be left alone are somehow suddenly destroyed, though they were never the source of any food contamination issue; and such that
• The profit and control and power of corporations which were absolutely the source of the increasingly terrible food, is somehow suddenly vastly increased.

Thanks to corporate control over reality, our wanting to clean up corporate processors and feedlots and CAFOS and end up with farmers’ markets and local farms and organic food has become the industrialization and potential destruction of every healthy part of the food system and the triumph of the most contaminated and toxic part.  And in the non-bargain, we lost all freedoms and they took all control.  And “all” is not a hyperbole here, for one need only look at another provision of HR 2749 to feel how insane, how distant from all we ever wanted.

* HR 2749 would empower FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested.  It puts the federal government right on the farm, dictating to our farmers.

[What is missing in pointing out this astounding control, is that it opens the door to CODEX and WTO “good farming practices” will include the elimination of organic farming by eliminating manure, mandating GMO animal feed, imposing animal drugs, and ordering applications of petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides.  Farmers, thus, will be locked not only into the industrialization of once normal and organic farms but into the forced purchase of industry’s products.  They will be slaves on the land, doing the work they are ordered to do – against their own best wisdom – and paying out to industry against their will.  There will be no way to be frugal, to grow one’s own grain to feed the animals, to raise healthy animals without GMO grains or drugs, to work with nature at all.  Grassfed cattle and poultry and hogs will be finished.  So, it needs to be made clear where control will take us.  And weren’t these the “rumors on the internet” that were dismissed but are clearly the case?]  See this DailyKos entry.

When we wanted not to get E-coli in processed meat, did we intend to put our farmers into corporate servitude?  Did we plan to have our own lives straight-jacketed by a million new controls over our own gardens, our own desire to grow food, our own plans to start small businesses, our own dreams to have a small piece of land and farm ourselves?  Who has the audacity to take our needs and grotesquely bastardize them in these ways, while giving the destruction and totalitarian control the sham name of “food safety”?

We wanted good food.  We never wanted to trap our farmers into an industrial prison on their own land, afraid moment to moment of not fulfilling some monstrous set of instructions that never end – rules the farmers loathe, rules that have not only nothing to do with real farming but which are antithetical to it.  Why have we ended up with HR 2749, an intense corporate nightmare around the most central and necessary aspects of a free country and of free human beings – farming and food?

American farming needs to be relieved of the burdens it has been under, not finished off by its corporate competition.  It needs freedom to flourish again.  Obviously – and Congress people who would think to vote for such absurdities, take note – the imposition of surveillance, monitoring, warrantless entry, taking of all records, licensing, fees, Codex and NAIS, in addition to massive penalties and prison terms (all without judicial review over even appropriateness and validity), are not how one thanks American farmers for holding together the only working part of our food system.  See Literal Enslavement by Linn Cohen-Cole.

HR 2749 is the most vicious and insane bill one could imagine.  Who treats our farmers in this way?  Who believes that such police measures can provide for the rebirth of farming and the return of healthy food?  Who wrote this bill that trashes the freedom of all our lives?  HR 2749 was not what we ordered and it should be sent back the bowels of hell it came from.

HR 2749 is both insane and cruel.  And the deceptiveness of hiding a Patriot Act in it and the brutal rush to slip it through Congress are ANTI-democratic.

Go here to tell Congress, “No.” http://www.ftcldf.org/petitions/pnum993.php


GMO Crops ‘To Be Grown in Secret’ by Government

June 4, 2009

Jon Swaine
London Telegraph
December 20, 2008

Trials could also be conducted away from the public in the Government’s Porton Down military research site in Salisbury, Wiltshire, it is claimed.

There are currently no GM food trials underway in the country and the more than 50 that have been conducted since 2000 have been affected by vandalism. Opponents of GM benefit from current rules, which dictate that all trials must be disclosed on a Government website.

However, a review of security arrangements for trials has been ordered by Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary and Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary.

The Independent reported that ministers are preparing to scrap the disclosure rule.

A Government source told the newspaper: “We need to review the security arrangements. The rules are a charter for people who want to stop the experiments. A lot of information has to be put in the public domain and that makes it very easy for people to trash them.”

Mr Benn said: “We need to see if GM foods have a contribution to make, and we won’t know the answer about their environmental impact unless we run controlled experiments. It’s important to go with the science.”

Lord Mandelson acted to loosen rules on GM licensing in his previous job as EU Trade Commisioner, and it is thought he favours a relaxation of the conditions in Britain.

While the Government has signalled that GM crops hold the potential to prevent future food crises, Gordon Brown has trodden carefully around the issue due to fierce opposition from large sections of the public.

Leeds University, where a trial batch of 400 GM potato plants was destroyed by vandals in June, is planning to make a final attempt to complete the trial, and is asking the Government to fund security fences and CCTV cameras on its farm.

READ FULL ARTICLE


Genetically Modified Hawaii

June 4, 2009

Robynne Boyd
Scientific American
Dec. 15, 2008

Just beyond the defunct Koloa Sugar Mill on the Hawaiian island of Kauai’s south shore are acres of cornfields that have sprouted over the past decade in a state made famous by its pineapples, bananas and sugarcane crops. Slightly out of place in the Aloha State, they otherwise look quite conventional, although in fact they are not: The crop is among a bounty of others in the state that are grown from seeds that have been genetically engineered or modified (GM) to produce sturdier plants able to withstand weather and disease as well as thrive in the face of insects and chemicals sprayed on them to kill destructive weeds.

In front of one plot of corn stalks is a red and white sign warning, “Danger: pesticides. Keep out.” Tacked to it is a list containing 15 chemicals that may have been applied to the crop. In this case, the chemicals circled are the herbicides pendimethalin (brand name: Prowl), dicamba (Banvel) and atrazine, the latter of which is banned in the European Union (E.U.) because of its link to birth defects in frogs that live in groundwater contaminated with it.

I pass these corn fields every day when I go to the beach to go swimming,” says Marty Kuala, 68, a 36-year resident of the town Koloa who worked in a plant nursery (that grew native plants such as naupaka, a’ali’i, and naio) in 2005. “It’s kind of a new thing that we’re starting to see these fields [of genetically modified or engineered crops] all over the place. GMOs [genetically modified organisms] are growing in the Mahaulepu area on Kauai’s south shore and even in the large populated areas of Lihue, our biggest town.”

This year, only 1.67 million tons of raw sugar were produced, nearly one million tons less than just a decade earlier; only 13,900 acres (5,625 hectares) in the state were set aside for pineapples in 2006 [the latest year for which pineapple stats are available) compared with a whopping 76,700 acres (31,039 hectares) in 1991.

The other crops vying for state land: flowers and nursery plants, macademia nuts, coffee, milk, algae, tomatoes, bananas and papaya.

Genetically modified food has been a source of debate since hitting the market in 1994. The E.U. had banned the imports of GM crops for 20 years, however in 2006 the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that the ban violated international trade rules. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed it safe and has so far declined to limit or block the burgeoning industry.

The extraordinary biodiversity (and, so, native plants competing for space and nutrients), along with the intractable problem of invasive species would seem to make Hawaii the least likely place to grow controversial crops, risking their uncontrollable spread. But scientists seed companies and some scientists believe say the benefits outweigh the risks of damage to the fragile ecosystem, most notably Hawaii’s crop-friendly moderate year-round climate—an average of 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius)—and its open acreage. And over the past 10 years, Hawaii has become the locus for genetically modified crop field trials and a microcosm for the controversies over the safety of growing and eating transgenic food.

To date, Hawaii’s fertile soil has nourished more than 2,230 field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops, including corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes, wheat, alfalfa, beets, rice, safflower, and sorghum—more than any other state. A total of 4,800 acres (1,940 hectares) of such crops now grow throughout the state, some 3,500 (1,415) of which are corn and soybeans, 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of which yield genetically engineered papaya, and the remaining 10 percent are field trials for new potential GM crops. “Hawaii is ideally suited for field trials and seed production, because of the climate and the ability to grow corn and soybeans 52 weeks a year,” says Cindy Goldstein, a spokesperson for Johnston, Ia.–based Pioneer Hi-Bred International (a subsidiary of DuPont) in Waimea, Kauai. Her company has been producing GM corn and soybeans in Hawaii since the mid-1990’s, when the FDA approved the crops for commercial sale.

FULL ARTICLE


Consumers: Cloned Animals Should NOT Be Farmed for Food

June 3, 2009

Sean Poulter
Mail Online
October 14, 2008

Cloned animals and their offspring should not be farmed for food according to the overwhelming majority of consumers, an EU study has revealed.

Most Britons, like their counterparts in the rest of Europe, would object to clone farming.

The issue has leapt on to the public agenda after the Daily Mail revealed that eight cattle, the offspring of a prize-winning clone milking cow in the USA, had been born on UK farms.

Currently, there are no laws to prevent meat and milk from these animals going into the food chain. Nor is there any legal requirement to label food from clone offspring.

The EU and Britain’s Food Standards Agency(FSA) are in the throes of deciding how clone farming should be policed.

A new survey of 25,000 consumers across the EU makes clear families are unhappy at this new era of ‘Frankenstein Food’ farming.

The European Commission study found 87per cent of people in the UK – 84per cent in Europe – believe we don’t know enough about the long-term health and safety effects of eating food from these animals.

The findings of the study triggered demands from animal welfare groups for the EU to impose a ban on clone farming and the imports of clone animal food from the USA and beyond.

They pointed to alarming levels of animal suffering. Many clone animals die in the womb or soon after from painful organ failure and deformities.

Read article


Genetically Modified Maize Lowers Fertility in Mice, Study Finds

June 3, 2009

The Earth Times
November 12, 2008

Vienna – Feeding mice with genetically engineered maize developed by the US-based Monsanto corporation led to lower fertility and body weight, according to a study conducted by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna presented Tuesday. In the study, mice fed with the NK603 x MON810 sweetcorn variety over a period of 20 weeks showed a smaller litter size and lighter offspring than mice fed with non-engineered maize.

The differences “were statistically significant in the third and fourth litters,” according to an abstract of the study led by Professor Juergen Zentek and commissioned by Austria’s Environment Ministry.

Although in an alternative set-up of the study the differences between the groups of mice were found to be less pronounced and statistically not significant, the environmental organization Global 2000 said this meant that further long-term tests were needed.

Austria has long resisted calls by the European Commission to allow the use of genetically modified food, but it finally had to lift its ban on MON810 maize as animal feed last year.

However, Austrian feed companies have so far agreed to a self- imposed ban on MON810.

The tested corn breed is a cross of MON810 and another variety and is designed to be resistant against herbicides and insects.

An expert panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found in 2005 that the hybrid was “safe for human and animal health.”

Following the release of the study at a conference in Vienna, Global 2000 and Greenpeace criticized EFSA’s approval of the variety and called for a ban of genetically engineered maize.

“It is now vital to keep animal feed in Austria free of genetically engineered maize, and an immediate ban on the use of genetically engineered maize MON810 in Austria is the order of the day,” Global 2000 spokesman Jens Karp said.


Scientists Experiment with Vaccinations in GMO Corn

June 1, 2009

Bryan Salvage
Meat & Poultry
May 11, 2009

AMES, IOWA — Iowa State University researchers are putting flu vaccines into the genetic makeup of corn, which may someday allow pigs and humans to get a flu vaccination simply by eating corn or corn products.

“We’re trying to figure out which genes from the swine influenza virus to incorporate into corn so those genes, when expressed, would produce protein,” said Hank Harris, professor in animal science and one of the researchers on the project. “When the pig consumes that corn, it would serve as a vaccine.”

This collaborative effort project involves Mr. Harris and Brad Bosworth, an affiliate associate professor of animal science working with pigs, and Kan Wang, a professor in agronomy, who is developing the vaccine traits in the corn.

According to the researchers, the corn vaccine would also work in humans when they eat corn or even corn flakes, corn chips, tortillas or anything that contains corn, Mr. Harris said. The research is funded by a grant from Iowa State University’s Plant Sciences Institute, and is their Biopharmaceuticals and Bioindustrials Research Initiative.

If the research goes well, the corn vaccine may be possible in five to seven years. In the meantime, the team is trying to expedite the process. “While we’re waiting for Wang to produce the corn, we are starting initial experiments in mice to show that the vaccine might induce an immune response,” Mr. Bosworth said.

Mr. Harris said the team still needs more answers. “The big question is whether or not these genes will work when given orally through corn,” he added. “That is the thing we’ve still got to determine.”

Stability and safety are several advantages to the corn vaccine. Once the corn with the vaccine is grown, it can be stored for long-term without losing its potency, researchers claim. If a swine flu virus breaks out, the corn could be shipped to the location to try to vaccinate animals and humans in the area quickly. Because corn grain is used as food and feed, there is no need for extensive vaccine purification, which can be an expensive process.