By Dr. Mercola
What do Pope Francis, Neil Young, and German beekeepers have in common? They’re all speaking out against genetically engineered crops and the excessive use of toxic pesticides.
Meanwhile, the chemical technology industry is feverishly trying to revamp its image by renaming itself and putting out new spins on words to disguise what they’re really all about.
The sad fact is, the chemical industry has to a large degree taken over the food industry, not to mention hijacked the federal regulatory process. In essence, most of the population is being fed by poison experts.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which has been instrumental in keeping Americans in the dark about what’s in our food, also admits it has played an integral role in shaping the draconian “DARK Act,” which delivers Monsanto everything they’ve ever wanted on a silver platter while obliterating the democratic process.
Pope Francis Calls for Radical Transformations to Confront Environmental Degradation
On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis’ 184-page long Encyclical letter1,2 was published, in which he calls for the transformation of lifestyles, politics, agriculture, economics, and business in general to tackle environmental degradation.
“The violence present in our hearts is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life,” he says.
And, while praising scientific advancements, he criticizes the use of novel technologies without adequate forethought, noting that: “our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.”
To many people’s surprise, Pope Francis appears to have a fairly comprehensive grasp of the subject of genetically engineered food and its many inherent hazards, both to the environment and human health.
Far from coming from a strictly religious perspective, he comprehensively addresses the issue from the point of ecological and economical balance, noting:3
“The expansion of these [genetically engineered] crops has the effect of destroying the complex network of ecosystems, diminishing the diversity of production and affecting regional economies, now and in the future.
In various countries, we see an expansion of oligopolies for the production of cereals and other products needed for their cultivation. This dependency would be aggravated were the production of infertile seeds to be considered; the effect would be to force farmers to purchase them from larger producers.
Certainly, these issues require constant attention and a concern for their ethical implications. A broad, responsible scientific and social debate needs to take place, one capable of considering all the available information and of calling things by their name.
Discussions are needed in which all those directly or indirectly affected (farmers, consumers, civil authorities, scientists, seed producers, people living near fumigated fields, and others) can make known their problems and concerns, and have access to adequate and reliable information in order to make decisions for the common good, present and future.
This is a complex environmental issue; it calls for a comprehensive approach which would require, at the very least, greater efforts to finance various lines of independent, interdisciplinary research capable of shedding new light on the problem.”
German Beekeepers Call for Nationwide Ban of GE Crops
The issue of GE crops goes hand-in-hand with the issue of rising pesticide use, and the effects these chemicals are having on soils, pollinating insects, and human health.
Bees can be viewed as “canaries in the coal mine,” and over the last decade beekeepers have grappled with bee colony collapse disorder (CCD). Bees are priceless as they pollinate one-third of the food we eat. Just about every fruit and vegetable you can imagine is dependent on the pollinating services of bees.
But bee die-offs have in recent years been so severe that many farmers were barely able to get enough bees to get the job done, and beekeepers are asked to deliver their bees over far greater distances than ever before due to bee shortages.
Toxic pesticides have long been suspected of being responsible for CCD, and GE crops are particularly contaminated. To protect these crucial pollinators, the German Beekeepers Association (DIB), which represents nearly 100,000 beekeepers, has called for a nationwide ban on genetically engineered (GE) crops.
GE crops are approved on the European Union (EU) level, but recently adopted legislation4 allows member states to opt-out of the cultivation of GE crops if it so chooses. According to a report by GM Watch:5
“Under the law, a member state can ban a GMO in part or all of its territory. But the law has come under heavy criticism for failing to provide a solid basis for such bans.
The beekeepers are urging Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt (CSU) to implement a Germany-wide ban on cultivation. The Minister pleads, however, for letting each state decide individually.
The beekeepers counter that a piecemeal approach will not work. Bees fly up to eight kilometers in search of food, the DIB said, so a juxtaposition of GM crop cultivation zones and GMO-free zones within Germany would be ‘environmentally and agriculturally unacceptable.. ‘Bees know no borders,’ the DIB added.”
Neil Young Sings About ‘The Monsanto Years’
Neil Young’s latest album, The Monsanto Years, is all about Monsanto and “exposing the myth of progress,” to quote one of his musicians. Young has also made public statements decrying the hijacking of democracy by corporate interests, warning:6 “These Corporations were originally created to serve us but if we don’t appropriately prioritize they will destroy us.”
“I choose to speak Truth to this Economic Power,” he writes. “I support those bringing these issues to light and those who fight for their rights like Freedom of Choice. But Freedom of Choice is meaningless without knowledge. That’s why it’s crucial we all get engaged and get informed.
That’s why GMO labeling matters. Mothers need to know what they are feeding their children. They need freedom to make educated choices at the market. When the people have voted for labeling, as they have in Vermont, they need our support when they are fighting these corporate interests trying to reverse the laws they have voted for and passed in the democratic process.”
Don’t Be Confused by the Chemical Industry’s Word Games
Monsanto recently made a bid to take over Syngenta, the world’s largest pesticide producer. The $45.1 billion bid was rejected, but there’s still a chance for a merger, in which case Monsanto may assume the Syngenta name, or a new more “neutral” name—a move intended to dissociate Monsanto from its long list of atrocities and lies. The two companies are also floating ideas for relocating the merged chemical behemoth to a lower-tax region to avoid US taxes.7
Whatever happens, I sincerely doubt Monsanto will be able to escape its past as I am committed to relentlessly exposing their lies, frauds, and deceptions to the masses. We will make sure that its sordid history will quickly transfer over to whatever name it assumes next. Still, words and names can be powerful, and the chemical technology industry is busy renaming and rebranding itself and its toxic wares in an obvious effort to disguise their true nature.
Take the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), for example, which on June 17 renamed itself the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.8 Basically, they want to remove the idea of “industry” from the industry. Monsanto also recently started using the word “seed protectants” for pesticides.9
Do these chemicals “protect seeds”? You could argue that they do, but their main function is to kill insects and other plants. Yet it’s much harder to associate a “seed protectant” with toxic pesticide exposure that can cause harm to human health, isn’t it? Do not let them get away with it by adopting this ridiculous new verbiage.
Monsanto, a war chemical company that has been sued over toxic pollution multiple times, and been found guilty of lying and covering up evidence of their wrong-doing in virtually every case, is now looking to buy another giant chemical company, move their headquarters overseas to avoid US taxes, change their name, and rename their toxic bug and weed killers into nicer sounding things like “seed and crop protectants.”
At the end of the day, Monsanto is still just a chemical company that is now using many of the same war chemicals to grow our food. Why do we accept food from a poison expert? Toxins are rendered largely unnecessary using regenerative practices, which have also been shown to outperform chemical agriculture in terms of yield.
Monsanto’s president and chief operating officer Brett Bergemann recently stated that:10 “We have the challenge of feeding 9.5 billion people by 2050. We need to meet that need in a sustainable way and we need to drive sustainable intensification of agriculture.” And yet everything Monsanto specializes in drives us in the polar opposite of regenerative agriculture. If you still believe Monsanto is concerned with feeding billions of people healthy nutritious food, then you simply have yet to objectively and carefully review their scandalous history.
They design and patent seeds that withstand the very herbicides they make and sell. They promised weeds would not develop resistance, but 10 million acres of superweeds stand witness to that lie. This has led to more Roundup being used to keep up with the weeds. Now crops resistant to even more toxic chemicals are being brought to market. Everything Monsanto has ever done has been centered around toxic chemicals, and now they’re trying to purchase the world’s largest pesticide producer.
Toxins and health do not go together, and anyone with impartial and rational motivations will quickly realize that Monsanto is not in the health-food business. They’re in the poison business, and with the bid to take over Syngenta, it should be crystal clear that Monsanto is not about to change their century-old track record anytime soon, no matter how many new words they invent to confuse you about the use of toxins on your food.
GMA Threatens to Take Away Vermont’s Twinkies
On April 27, 2015, a judge ruled against the food industry, spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), upholding Vermont’s GMO labeling law. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2016. But the GMA isn’t done fighting against democracy and freedom and just about everything else the United States claims to stand for.
It recently sent a letter to Vermont, threatening to remove snack foods from the state lest Vermont drop its GMO labeling law. According to Politico:11 “The Grocery Manufacturers Association is warning Vermont officials that the cost to food companies to comply with the state’s GMO labeling law could exceed their sales revenue, forcing many of them to leave.” Should such a threat actually go through, it would surely be a magnificent experiment to see how residents’ health might improve compared to other states where snacks containing GMO corn syrup, sugar from GMO sugar beets, and vegetable oils from GMO soy and cottonseed are still sold.
GMA Admits Playing Integral Role in ‘Denying Americans the Right to Know’ (DARK) Act
The GMA has also been a driving force behind Pompeo “DARK” Act (HR 1599, “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act”)—a law that would not only preempt states’ rights to create their own GMO food labeling laws, it also preempts any and all state and local regulation of GE crops, and weakens federal oversight.12 In short, it’s a Monsanto dream come true, and a corporate fascism nightmare for the rest of us.
Not only would it nullify existing GMO regulation, it also prohibits future laws from even being considered! The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) admits playing an integral role in the creation of this draconian anti-democratic, anti-consumer bill. In a June 17, 2015 email to the GMA board of directors, Pamela Bailey writes, in part:
“GMA knows that your companies are facing difficult decisions and monumental challenges implementing the Vermont mandatory GMO labeling law. Many of you have reached out to me and other GMA staff with your concerns. The federal legislation introduced in the House by Representatives Pompeo and Butterfield continues to gain very significant traction. Indeed, tomorrow there will be a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and GMA has been integral to the process.
One of the witnesses is the Assistant Attorney General of Vermont, and he will be responding to several tough questions. One of our expert witnesses in the Vermont litigation, President and CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, will testify on the impact the Vermont law will have on food supply chain. Next week the House Agricultural Committee is holding a hearing, and we expect the only witness at that hearing to be USDA.” [Emphasis mine]
Not surprisingly, Monsanto is also on the board for the Supply Chain Management…13
Take Immediate Action: Tell Your Congressman to Vote NO on Pompeo’s Bill, HR1599
As noted by the Center for Food Safety (CFS),14 the latest changes to Pompeo’s bill “create an anti-democracy, anti-consumer, anti-environment mega-bill” that simply MUST be stopped. We need everyone to put pressure on your federal representatives, and demand they vote NO on the Pompeo bill. We need to do everything we possibly can to prevent it from passing, so please, take action now! Tell your representative to support consumer and state rights, and reject Rep. Pompeo’s bill, H.R. 1599.
Do You Have a Victory Garden?
The idea of planting Victory Gardens goes back to World War I and II, and was advertised as a way for patriots to make a difference on the home front. Planting these gardens helped the citizens combat food shortages by supplying themselves and their neighbors with fresh produce.
Planting your own Victory Garden can go a long way toward healthier eating, and in the long run, it can provide incentive for industry-wide change, and a return to a diet of real food, for everyone, everywhere. A great way to get started on your own is by sprouting. They may be small, but sprouts are packed with nutrition and best of all, they’re easy and inexpensive to grow.