By Dr. Mercola
Despite strong opposition, on June 24 the US Senate passed the Fast Track bill1,2 (known as Trade Promotion Authority or TPA) that gives the President carte blanche to negotiate and finalize free trade deals in complete secrecy, which brings us one step closer to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP, which appears to be nothing short of a corporate takeover of global powers, has the legal ability to thwart all future attempts at protecting the public from genetically engineered (GE) foods, and for this (and many other reasons) mustbe stopped.
As explained by Ben Beachy and Ben Lilliston in recent interviews, the TPP, which involves the United States and 11 other countries around the Pacific Rim, is a vast expansion of terms already found in the notoriously unpopular North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
If ratified, the TPP will have tremendous ramifications for our health, economy, and environmental protections—not to mention the loss of individual, state, and national rights, as it sets up binding rules that supersede US law.
As noted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation3 (the primary concern of which is the TPP’s impact on digital regulations), we have but one narrow window of opportunity left.
The Fast Track legislation does force the White House to release the final trade agreement text 60 days before Congress votes on it, giving us a two-month long window to dissect it and convince our lawmakers not to ratify it.
In the meantime, we need to continue hammering our representatives, driving home the message that we will not accept a yes vote on TPP. Nor will we accept a yes vote on the Pompeo bill, which would also eliminate state rights to label and regulate GMOs.
- Find your congressman by clicking this link
- Write down what you will say. You can use facts in this article and otherarticles discussing the free trade deal, but tell them to oppose the TPP when it comes up for vote
- Rehearse what you will say
- Remember to be respectful
So please, contact your member of Congress and tell them to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While Fast Track passed, we may still prevent the TPP from becoming reality if we can convince Congress to vote against the ratification of it.
The time to apply pressure is right NOW. In addition to the source above, you can also find contact information for your state’s Congressman and additional information on the TPP via StopFastTrack.com, and ExposetheTPP.org.
Dissenting Lawmakers Punished
While it’s quite clear that contentious legislation slides through easier when enough palms have been greased, it’s rare to hear lawmakers speak out about it, and rarer still to hear them talk about retaliation when they refuse to go along with lobbying efforts.
Rep. Mark Meadows was stripped of his position as House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee chairman after voting against the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill—one of two bills that originally had to pass in order to advance Trade Promotion Authority.
Days later, Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) reinstated him, saying:4
“A number of people have asked me to reconsider that decision. Having spoken with Mark Meadows several times during the past week, I think we both better understand each other.
It is in the best interest of the committee to move forward together. Therefore, I have asked Mark to continue in his role as sub-committee chairman.”
According to the Washington Examiner:5
“The reversal is a victory for the dozens of conservative lawmakers who regularly buck the GOP leadership on key legislation because they believe it violates promises they made to constituents.It also comes on the same day that House GOP freshmen decided not to remove Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., as their class president after he voted against advancing the trade bill.
Many conservatives, including Meadows and Buck, belong to the newly formed House Freedom Caucus, which met this week to discuss ways they can defend themselves against retaliation by the GOP leadership. GOP leadership turned to punitive measures after the majority of the Republican conference complained to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that the rebel group was never punished for continually defying the leadership on key votes.”
In addition to Meadows, three other Republicans were removed from the Republican whip team for voting against Fast Track. None of them have been reinstated.
Corporate Takeover of United States Threatens on Two Fronts
It’s quite clear that thwarting all efforts to label and/or restrict GE foods is now among the prime objectives on both the national and global level. Not only will the TPP dampen such efforts, the Pompeo “DARK” Act (HR 1599, “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act”6,7,8) specifically preempts states’ rights to create their own GMO food labeling laws.
It should come as no surprise that the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) has played an integral role in the creation of this draconian bill, seeing how far it has gone already to keep you in the dark about the contents of your food.
Not only was it caught in an illegal money-laundering scheme during the Washington State GMO labeling campaign in 2013, designed to hide the identities of the donors to their anti-labeling campaign, it also (unsuccessfully) sued Vermont for passing a GMO labeling bill. The GMA is nothing if not a workhorse for Monsanto.
The latest expanded version of the Pompeo bill also preempts any and all state and local regulation of GE crops, and further weakens federal oversight.9 So, not only would it nullify existing regulation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), it also prohibits future laws from even being considered.
What does all of this tell you? If GMOs were as safe as proponents claim, why would the industry go to such lengths, at such great expense, to deny consumers the right to know they’re eating them, and to strangle regulatory oversight?
Moreover, rather than simply labeling foods containing GMOs, Pompeo’s bill would require the creation of a USDA non-GMO certification program similar to its National Organic Program—essentially shifting all of the costs over to those who want to declare that their foods are not GMO.
But why should foodmakers using historically “normal” and genetically unadulterated ingredients be the one shouldering the cost of certification and labeling instead of labeling GMOs? This entire system is backasswards. If GMOs were labeled, as they rightfully should be, there would be no need for GMO-free labeling, which is really just a workaround to give consumers what they want—the right to make an informed purchasing decision.
GMO Safety Based on Flawed Arguments
The arguments for GMO safety are inherently flawed. The primary ingredients derived from GE crops for human consumption is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)—the number one source of calories for Americans—sugar from GE sugar beets, and highly processed industrial vegetable oils from soy and cottonseed. All of these ingredients have been clearly demonstrated by science to be primary causes of disease in the US, producing obesity, heart disease, cancer, and chronic poor health.
So even if these crops weren’t genetically modified, they would be a health disaster, but adding resistance to a toxic poison like glyphosate turns these foods into a health time-bomb. Researchers have convincingly shown that these crops absorb more glyphosate than treated non-GE crops.10
Glyphosate was recently classified as a Class 2A “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization’s (WHOs) research arm on cancer, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) admits foods are not tested for glyphosate residues due to the high expense of doing so.11 So, GE corn, soy, cottonseed, and sugar beets are known to contain higher levels of a probable carcinogen, which the government does not test for—that in and of itself is cause for labeling GMOs. Yet no one has addressed these basic and indisputable points on safety during any of the Pompeo bill hearings. The fact that so many lawmakers are willing to sacrifice public health for Monsanto’s financial gain is astounding.
Monsanto Invests in More Toxic Chemicals
Monsanto began as a war chemical company, and it shows no signs of changing its ways. Not only is it trying to buy Syngenta, the world’s largest pesticide producer, it also plans to invest at least $1 billion in a dicamba pesticide production facility.12 Dicamba-13 and 2,4-D-resistant GE crops are in the pipeline since glyphosate resistance has spread among weeds, and yet again Monsanto proves it is in the business of selling toxins, not food.
Monsanto’s new Roundup Ready Xtend cotton and soybeans are engineered to be resistant to a combination of glyphosate and dicamba, while Dow AgroSciences’ new breed of Enlist Duo corn and soybeans are resistant to a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D.
Remember, glyphosate has now been classified a probable human carcinogen. Recent research also shows that Monsanto’s Roundup formulation promotes antibiotic resistance by priming pathogens to more readily become resistant to antibiotics. The World Health Organization’s cancer research agency also recently placed 2,4-D on its list of Class 2B “possible” carcinogens. As reported by Greenwire.14
“According to a press release from the International Agency on the Research of Cancer, there is ‘strong evidence’ that 2,4-D induces oxidative stress, a mechanism that can cause damage to human cells, and moderate evidence that 2,4-D suppresses the immune system, based on animal studies.”
Basically, the vast majority of the corn and soy found in American processed foods is grown with carcinogens, and the chemical technology industry now running the food industry is hell-bent on not disclosing these toxic facts—and our politicians are letting them get away with it. Adding insult to injury, Monsanto is now performing linguistic gymnastics in an effort to hide the exact nature of these toxins by referring to them as “seed and crop protectants” instead of herbicides and pesticides.15
The chemical technology industry as a whole is also trying to rename and rebrand itself to disguise its true nature. On June 17, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) renamed itself the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.16 Basically, they want to remove the idea of “industry” from the industry, as this word has acquired increasingly negative connotations associated with world domination and lack of concern for anyone but share holders.
Protect Your Right to Know
In a short but excellent and to the point op-ed published by The Hill,17 Mark Mellman sums up the current situation by saying:
“Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) is moving a bill dubbed the Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, which would make it illegal for states to require labels indicating whether foods contain genetically modified organisms, quashing states’ rights.
It also makes a mockery of another right: Do you believe you have the right to decide for yourself whether to eat GMO foods?…[D]enying consumers the right to know what’s in their food makes it effectively impossible for consumers to exercise their right to decide.p
Members jumping on Pompeo’s bandwagon are not only flouting common sense, they are defying public opinion.Eighty-eight percent of voters favor ‘requiring labels for foods that have been genetically modified or contain genetically modified ingredients,’ with more than 70 percent saying they are strongly in favor.
Just 6 percent of the electorate oppose requiring labels… In standing against GMO labeling, Pompeo and the other members supporting his bill are standing with less than 6 percent of the electorate…
So what’s Pompeo’s purpose?…[H]e says he worries that labeling will increase food prices. Really? Printing the words ‘Contains GMOs’ will raise the price of food? Companies regularly change their labels and don’t hike their prices. Does the cost of a box of Wheaties go up every time a new champion is pictured on the front of the box? The federal government is already requiring changes to be implemented soon in nutrition labels. Piggyback GMO labeling on that and the incremental cost is literally zero.”
Take Immediate Action: Tell Your Congressman to Vote NO on Pompeo’s Bill, HR1599
More than 60 other nations, including Russia and China, already require GE foods to be labeled, and nearly 90 percent of Americans want GMO labeling. Pompeo’s bill simply MUST be stopped, but to do so we need everyone to put pressure on your federal representatives. 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 by rejecting Rep. Pompeo’s bill, H.R. 1599.
What Are GMOs?
GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I’ve stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.
Help Support GMO Labeling
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.
Public opinion around the biotech industry’s contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We’re fighting back. That’s why I push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically “lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.
The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.
Recently, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) has reintroduced a bill (HR 1599) that would preempt states’ rights to enact GMO labeling laws. This bill would create a federal government program to oversee guidelines for voluntary labeling of products that do not contain GMOs. It would specifically prohibit Congress or individual states from requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods or ingredients. It would also allow food manufacturers to use the word “natural” on products that contain GMOs. TAKE ACTION NOW! Your local representatives need to hear from you! Please contact them today by CLICKING HERE.
Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
Non-GMO Food Resources by Country
Together, Let’s Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve
Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption.
Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.
- 1 3 Electronic Frontier Foundation June 24, 2015
- 2 CNN June 23, 2015
- 4 5 Washington Examiner June 26, 2015
- 6 AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE TO H.R. 1599 (PDF)
- 7 Center for Food Safety June 15, 2015
- 8 AgriPulse June 18, 2015
- 9 AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE TO H.R. 1599 (PDF)
- 10 Food Chemistry June 15, 2014: 153; 207-215
- 11 Reuters December 19, 2014
- 12 Yahoo June 24, 2015
- 13 Dicamba Fact Sheet
- 14 EENews.net June 23, 2015
- 15 Farm Futures June 18, 2015
- 16 US RTK June 17, 2015
- 17 The Hill June 23, 2015