A new report published last Friday in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe is raising significant concern that weeds are evolving to become resistant to GMO crop technology, causing a significant increase in the use of toxic pesticides. Super weeds are cropping up in a similar fashion to the superbugs that have plagued our hospitals. Read more here.
While on the campaign trail in Iowa, Barack Obama boasted, “We’ll tell ConAgra that it’s not the Department of Agribusiness. We’re going to put the people’s interests ahead of the special interests.”1 Despite that promise, it seems that ConAgra’s friends at Monsanto and CropLife are still finding their way into the USDA.
Last month, President Obama nominated two “Big Ag” power brokers–Roger Beachy and Islam Siddiqui–to key agency positions, putting agribusiness executives in charge of our country’s agricultural research and trade policy. Please join us in telling the President that this isn’t the change we voted for. We don’t want Big Ag running the show any more.
Siddiqui’s confirmation hearing is set for next week. Please help us reach our goal of 50,000 signatures to make a real impact.
Obama’s first agribusiness selection is Roger Beachy, to be head of the USDA’s newly created National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Beachy is the founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO. It may sound innocuous, but the Danforth Center is essentially the non-profit arm of GMO seed giant Monsanto; Monsanto’s CEO sits on its board, and the company provides considerable funding for the Center’s operations.2
As the head of the USDA’s new research arm, formerly known as the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CREES), Beachy is responsible for deciding how U.S. research dollars will be spent in agriculture.3 Translation: more research on biotech, less research on how to scale sustainable and organic agriculture.
Unfortunately, Beachy has already started work at the USDA, but the next nominee—Islam Siddiqui—still must be confirmed by the U.S.Senate. Siddiqui, the Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, was recently nominated to be the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the US Trade Representative.4 Amazingly, when Michele Obama planted her “organic” garden on the White House lawn, Siddiqui’s CropLife MidAmerica sent the First Lady a letter saying that it made them “shudder”.5
During his career, Siddiqui spent over 3 years as a pesticide lobbyist, an Undersecretary at the USDA and a VP at CropLife. In defending Siddiqui, the White House has stated that he played a key role in helping establish the country’s first organic standards.6 What they neglect to mention, though, is that those original organic standards would have allowed irradiation, sewage sludge and GMOs to undermine organic integrity! The standards were so watered down that 230,000 people signed a petition for them to be changed, which they eventually were.7
Fortunately, the organic community stopped Siddiqui and his cronies then, and we need your help now to do it again. If Siddiqui’s nomination is allowed to go through, then agribusiness will continue to control the seeds, the science, and the distribution of global food and agriculture.
Please join Food Democracy Now! and a broad coalition of other groups, in calling on President Obama to keep his campaign promise of closing the revolving door between agribusiness and his administration.
Please click here to add your voice.
Thanks for standing with us and our coalition partners from across the country, including: The Pesticide Action Network (PAN), National Family Farm Coalition, Food & Water Watch, Farmworker’s Association of Florida, Institute of Agriculture & Trade Policy, Greenpeace and the Center for Food Safety in calling for President Obama to live up to his promises to put people’s interests ahead of special interests
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team.
If you’d like to see Food Democracy Now!’s grassroots work continue, please consider donating. Your donation of $5 or more will help us continue our work. We appreciate your support! http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/25?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1
1. Obama slams corporate agriculture, two Illinois firms, The Chicago Tribune, November 10, 2007
2. Another Monsanto man in a key USDA post?, Grist, September 24, 2009
3. A New Direction on Research at the USDA? The Experts Weigh In, The Huffington Post, October 15, 2009
4. Obama’s attempt to tap an agrichemical-industry flack runs into trouble, Grist, October 10, 2009
5. Michelle’s green garden upsets pesticide makers, The First Post, April 23, 2009
6. Agriculture nomination steams greens, Politico, October 10, 2009
7. USDA Enters Debate on Organic Label Law, The New York Times, February 23, 2003 http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/72?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1
Food Democracy Now and Organic Valley Family of Farms just released a call for help to rescind an anti-labeling law and prevent further regulations in Ohio that will restrict organic dairy farmers from labeling their products as free from the synthetic hormone rGBH.
According to Food Democracy Now, there was a small group of corporations that pushed a law through last year making it illegal for organic farmers, such as Organic Valley Family of Farms, to label their products as free from artificial hormones. On July 23rd the International Dairy Foods Association and Organic Trade Association will have a joint mediation with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to decide whether this rule go into effect.
To take action, call Ohio Governor Strickland and ask him to rescind Executive Order 2008-03S. Phone calls make the most impact so call today if it is important to you to know what is in the food you consume. His office # is: 614-466-3555.
I just saw the movie Food Inc. which is a revealing look into the reality behind how the food you consume and feed your loved ones is produced. It is worth the time and energy, and offers hope and action steps you can take to improve the quality of our food supply.
This post is timely, as discussions are in full gear regarding healthcare reform in California and in the country. Let’s focus on the cause of most chronic illness (which incidentally costs our government the most amount of money to manage), rather then masking the symptom by ensuring that all citizens receive the same level of healthcare which has failed miserably at treating chronic illness. The foods we eat play the largest role in preventing and treating chronic illnesses such as heart disease and obesity. Removing hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified foods, and plant and animal proteins laden with synthetic hormones, antibiotics and pesticides from our food supply is an intelligible place to start. And by all means support companies such as Organic Valley Family of Farms that are willing to take the high road and produce quality products free from these disease-causing ingredients.
A hopeful new report entitled “Taking Toxics out of Maryland’s Health Care Sector: transition to Green Pest Management Practices to Protect Health and the Environment” was recently published by the Maryland Pesticide Network and Beyond Pesticides, in collaboration with Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.
The report discusses the results of a statewide survey that revealed a general reliance on toxic pesticides at Maryland Hospitals and elder care facilities. There were 25 pesticides identified by the survey that are used at these facilities. And of these, 11 are linked to cancer, 12 are associated with neurological effects, 10 are associated reproductive harm, 5 cause birth or developmental defects, 10 cause liver and kidney damage, and 6 are suspected endocrine disruptors.
Pesticides are extremely toxic to the body and it does not make sense that they are being used in healthcare facilities. Even though they are classified as “safe” by the federal government, there is a compounding effect. This means that if you were only exposed to a “safe” dose of a single pesticide, and you were otherwise a healthy individual, then you may not see immediate effects. However, these toxins accumulate in fat cells and, over time, lead to cellular damage. Also, you are never only exposed to one toxin at a time. Your body is exposed to many different toxins at one time, and the added exposure to a known toxic pesticide will lead to a combined damaging effect on the body, regardless of its classification as being “generally recognized as safe.”
The Human Detoxification System is equipped to remove toxins from your body on a minute by minute bases. And it is a brilliant system. However, it is not designed to handle the sheer volume of toxins that we are exposed to in our society today- through our food, water, air and the mental and emotional stresses of our time. So eventually, your body’s ability to remove toxins slows down, and the toxins get stored near your cellular DNA, causing damage.
To learn more about toxins, and their impact on the body click here. Eight years ago I published a medical textbook on the effects of toxins on the human body and the use of herbal and nutritional medicines to support the Human Detoxification System, and protect the body from harm. My intention with writing the book was to bring scientific evidence to the timeless health tradition of cleansing the body and to inspire physicians and medical students to employ this simple health program to prevent and treat many diseases of the human body, mind and spirit.
Equally important to taking steps to detoxify your body, you must also remove sources of toxins from the environment as much as is possible. To learn about natural alternatives to toxic pesticides click here and here for some straightforward advice.
- Dr. G