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GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS AND TOXIC CHEMICALS

 

 

By Rosalind Peterson
July 18, 2010
NewsWithViews.com

...Are finding their way to your food table thanks to the Government

Genetically Modified foods and toxic chemicals are finding their way into the food you eat and other products at an alarming rate. The United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.), the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.), and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (U.S. D.H.H.S.), are allowing genetically modified food and other products to be approved without considering or even knowing their negative impacts on human health, pollinators, the very food chain that we depend upon, and other key agriculture and climate issues. [1]

One-hundred and sixty three regulatory agency reviews have been completed involving tomatoes, cotton, corn, canola, papaya, soybeans, potatoes, brassica napus, cantaloupe, flax, squash, beets, rice, radicchio, sugar beets, wheat, alfalfa, and other crops.[2] Most of these basic foods are used worldwide and in the United States. The impact of the approval and introduction of these agricultural products will have long-lasting effects. It will take years to determine their harm on human health and the environment. Once introduced cross-pollination will contaminate existing plants, flowers, and other crops, changing their makeup as well.

Thus, after the introduction of these altered plants into the environment, it will take years of study to determine their impact on human health, pollinators, and cross-pollination problems. And once introduced they cannot be removed from our environment. They will also increase our dependence on chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides, increasing human consumptions of these toxics from our food sources. Our oceans, rivers, and streams will also be changed due to ever-increasing toxic fertilizer and chemical run-off into these water sources.

The USDA database, for the above 163 GE crops, lists the companies and universities involved in genetically modifying our crops to increase their profits and make us more dependent on their seeds, fertilizers, and chemicals.[3] The list of chemical companies, seed companies, and universities includes, but is not limited to: Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences LLC, DuPont, DNA Plant Technology Corporation, Ciba-Geigy Corporation, Mycogen, Calgene Inc., Agritope Inc., Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., Aventis CropScience, AgrEvo, Zeneca & Petoseed, BASF, Rhone Poulenc Inc., Northrup King, Syngenta Seeds, Inc., Asgrow, Dekalb Genetics Corporation, Novartis Seeds, Plant Genetic Systems, Bejo Zaden BV, Upjohn, Vector, Bayer CropScience, and various universities.

The listing of “Trait Categories” varies from “Herbicide Tolerances,” to “Altered Fatty Acids & Oils,” “Insect & Virus Resistance,” “Male Sterility,” and “Phytate Degradation” along with other trait modifications. One of the most interesting and widespread of all the categories is DELAYED FRUIT RIPENING in tomatoes and cantaloupes.

Tomatoes are used as fresh vegetables, in soups, stewed tomatoes, catsup, for seasoning, sauces and a wide variety of other food products. They have been under the genetically modified barrage for years in order to remake them for mechanical picking. The taste of these modified tomatoes have made them almost unfit for fresh use as they taste nothing like the delicious tomatoes of our past. Now, there is interest, by many companies, to delay the ripening process so they can be stored for longer and longer periods of time. When the genetically modified tomatoes, now found in many supermarkets ripen, they still don’t taste like their former counterparts…anyone can tell the difference by the harder feel, color, flavor, lack of moisture, and the tough or greasy skins. They don’t fully ripen for the most part and don’t have the taste and juice qualities for a great eating experience.


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There are other issues which are rarely addressed when considering approval of this type of genetic engineering:

1. When you delay the ripening of tomatoes it lengthens the agriculture growing season for those crops to reach the green maturity to be picked. Thus, the tomatoes in question will take longer to grow in the fields making them unfit for timely agriculture production and the varying growing seasons, some very short, around the world and in the United States.

2. The fresh tomatoes grown by organic growers and by agriculture producers for the fresh markets could be impaired due to the length of the time needed during the growing season for ripening.

3. This genetic modification could cross-pollinate with other tomato crops causing mutations.

4. Genetic modification could harm pollinators thus reducing crop production of tomatoes.

5. There are other issues to be considered as these GE crops may need varying types of fertilizers and chemicals to produce growth thus increasing costs and other harm to the environment. These products could also harm pollinators and could have negative impacts on human and animal health.

The most important problem to be addressed is genetic food modification on our pollinators. Without the pollinators we won’t have enough food to eat and we will lose the wide variety of food, flowers, and other plants that not only sustain wildlife but ourselves in the long run. If we damage this abundance for any reason then we all suffer from lack of variety, type of foods, and the nutrition that goes with those foods.

In addition, Honey Bees and Pollinators are high on the list of concerns as they are declining each year in large numbers around the world. There is inadequate research being conducted into these losses. These studies are mostly dominated by groups and institutions dependent on chemical and seed company money or political influences. Many of the studies are paid for by the chemical companies themselves who have a vested interest in keeping their products on the market. Many universities that should be independent of corporate influences receive massive funding from some of these corporations forcing them not to release data that might go against the corporate interests or to do studies to prove that the chemicals or the genetically modified crops are safe.

Bayer CropScience, as just one example, has marketed a brand of chemicals call neonicotinoids that are harmful to honey bees and other pollinators according to the Bayer product labels.[4] The USDA and the EPA have refused to take these chemicals off the market. Some of these chemicals may cause CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), in honey bees and other pollinators.[5] Many other countries are taking action and banning their use after honey bee declines.[6]

Bayer CropScience’s Movento ™ has the following statement on their product label:

“…ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS: This pesticide is toxic to aquatic invertebrates and oysters. Do not apply directly to water, to areas where surface water is present, or to intertidal areas below the mean high water mark…This product is potentially toxic to honey bee larvae through residues in pollen and nectar…Exposure of adult bees to direct treatment or residues on blooming crops can lead to effects on honey bee larvae...” [8] This warning on the Bayer label is not enough to cause the U.S. to ban usage of this chemical, thus there is no protection for our honey bees, aquatic life or human health from the USDA, EPA, and the DHHS.[7]

Many beekeepers are refusing to take their honey bees into areas where genetically modified crops or these toxic chemicals are being used due to sharp decline in bee colonies in areas where these chemicals are used. The threat to our health, future crop diversity, our pollinators, and lack of enough food to eat is being exacerbated by the inability of our government to protect us under their mandates. These mandates have been eroded by corporate power, lobbying, and unlimited sums of money spent to influence government policies to allow highly questionable products, toxic chemicals, and genetically modified foods to be introduced and used in the United States and around the world.

The USDA and the EPA aren’t protecting our pollinators by stopping any suspect genetic modifications or chemicals until the testing is thorough and complete. Chemicals known to cause harm to honey bees and pollinators are still on the market and used in agriculture fields, on pets, and in other areas like parks, golf courses, and for weed control.

It appears that the USDA, the EPA, and DHHS are in league with huge chemical companies and other groups to bring these genetically engineered crops to market without public consent and adequate long-term testing. And it appears that these corporations and some universities are in league to promote this type of world for us to live within without our consent. Chemical companies want a monopoly on worldwide crops and seeds and they want them engineered so that they won’t grow without their fertilizers and chemicals being used on them. All crops and seeds should not be patented or owned solely by chemical or seed companies.

The Obama administration’s approach to agriculture has been to allow government agencies to approve genetically modified crops continuing Bush administration policies. Chemical companies like CropLife America, Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, Dow Chemical, and others are having their GE crops approved in almost record breaking numbers. Early in 2010, President Obama, during a Congressional recess, appointed Islam Siddiqui, a former CropLife America VP and lobbyist, to be the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative despite over 90,000 objections to his nomination. Instead of going through the Senate congressional process which may have stopped his confirmation, Obama capitulated to the pro-chemical agribusiness industry choice with this recess appointment.[12]

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It is all driven by money…the public is the sacrificial lamb willing to allow chemical companies and other corporations to dictate what we eat and how safe it is for us and our children. We all have a choice to make…we can stop this process or we can allow these companies to dominate our food supplies, the very quality, quantity, and the types of food we eat.

For more information visit:

A- agriculturedefensecoalition.org
B- Rosalind Peterson's Archives

Footnotes:

1- USDA, EPA, DHHS Home Page called: United States Regulatory Agencies Unified Biotechnology Website

2- USDA, EPA, DHHS Completed Agency Reviews of 163 Genetically Modified food and other crops: Website: Complete Listing & Current Status

3- USDA Completed Agency Reviews & List of Companies Getting Approval for their GE Crops.

4- Pesticide Blamed for Killing Honey Bees Telegraph.co.uk September 9, 2009

5- Behind Mass Die-Offs, Pesticides Lurk as Culprit January 7, 2010 Report

6- Pesticides: Germany Bans Chemicals Linked to Honeybee Devastation May 23, 2008 Guardian.co.uk News

“…Germany has banned a family of pesticides that are blamed for the deaths of millions of honeybees. The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has suspended the registration for eight pesticide seed treatment products used in rapeseed oil and sweetcorn…Tests on dead bees showed that 99% of those examined had a build-up of clothianidin. The chemical, produced by Bayer CropScience, a subsidiary of the German chemical giant Bayer, is sold in Europe under the trade name Poncho. It was applied to the seeds of sweetcorn planted along the Rhine this spring. The seeds are treated in advance of being planted or are sprayed while in the field…Bayer's best selling pesticide, imidacloprid, sold under the name Gaucho in France, has been banned as a seed dressing for sunflowers in that country since 1999, after a third of French honeybees died following its widespread use. Five years later it was also banned as a sweetcorn treatment in France. A few months ago, the company's application for clothianidin was rejected by French authorities…Philipp Mimkes, spokesman for the German-based Coalition against Bayer Dangers, said: "We have been pointing out the risks of neonicotinoids for almost 10 years now. This proves without a doubt that the chemicals can come into contact with bees and kill them. These pesticides shouldn't be on the market…”

7- Bayer CropScience’s Movento™ has the following statement on their product label: “…ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS For Terrestrial Use: This pesticide is toxic to aquatic invertebrates and oysters. Do not apply directly to water, to areas where surface water is present, or to intertidal areas below the mean high water mark. This product may contaminate water through drift of spray in wind. Do not apply when weather conditions favor drift from treated areas. Drift and runoff from treated areas may be hazardous to aquatic organisms in neighboring areas. Do not contaminate water when disposing of equipment washwaters or rinsate. This chemical has properties and characteristics associated with chemicals detected in ground water. The use of this chemical in areas where soils are permeable, particularly where the water table is shallow, may result in ground-water contamination. This product is potentially toxic to honey bee larvae through residues in pollen and nectar…Exposure of adult bees to direct treatment or residues on blooming crops can lead to effects on honey bee larvae. See the "Directions for Use" section of this label for specific crop application instructions that minimize risk to honey bee larvae. OBSERVE THE FOLLOWING PRECAUTIONS WHEN SPRAYING IN THE VICINITY OF AQUATIC AREAS SUCH AS LAKES; RESERVOIRS; RIVERS; PERMANENT STREAMS; MARSHES OR NATURAL PONDS; ESTUARIES AND COMMERCIAL FISH FARM PONDS…”

8- The Agriculture Defense Coalition has compiled a large database on the subject of Genetically Modified Crops, Seeds, and Chemicals used in agriculture and other areas. We invite the public to view these documents and other records on the ADC website.

9- Honey Bee Section & Toxic Chemical Section.

10- Genetically Modified Crop Section Under Agriculture.

11- Weather Modification Section: Defeat U.S. Senate Bill S601 in 2010 – Protect Agriculture & Water Sources

12- Obama Appoints Pro-GMO+Chemical Siddiqui to Key Agriculture Post During Congressional Recess March 31, 2010 News

2010 - Rosalind Peterson - All Rights Reserved

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In 1995, Rosalind, now retired, became a certified California United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency Agriculture Crop Loss Adjustor working in more than ten counties throughout California. Rosalind has a BA degree from Sonoma State University in Environmental Studies & Planning (ENSP), with emphasis on using solar power, photosynthesis, agriculture, and crop production.

Between 1989 and 1993 Rosalind worked as an Agricultural Technologist for the Mendocino County Department of Agriculture. After leaving Mendocino County she took a position with the USDA Farm Service Agency as a Program Assistant in Mendocino, Sonoma, and the Salinas County Offices, where she worked until becoming certified as a crop loss adjustor for the State.

E-Mail: info@californiaskywatch.com


 

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The USDA database, for the above 163 GE crops, lists the companies and universities involved in genetically modifying our crops to increase their profits and make us more dependent on their seeds, fertilizers, and chemicals.