Thursday, March 28, 2013

FDA Approved post number 3!

Side effects of this posting may include nausea, rage, insightfulness, protest, and reflection.  Please consult your doctor before reading.

Monsanto....ahhh where to begin!  If you're not sure who or what Monsanto is, do a quick search (StartPage is like google but without all the baggage of government tracking) and I'm sure you'll take to the issue of their existence the same way I did...or relatively close anyway.

They're a multinational corporation deeply rooted with many OTHER multinational corporations (DOW, DuPont, Pfizer) and are widely regarded as corporate bullies.  I'll let you do the background research since I've already learned my stuff and you can further verify what I write in here.  Started in the beginning of the 20th century, they were a chemical company who created chemical weapons during WWI, pesticides, had a huge part to play in creating the first atomic bomb during WWII, created Agent Orange, etc.  They are best known for their pesticides and herbicides, specifically RoundUp.  They began gene splicing projects to created plant strains that were RoundUp resistant and this began a trip down the rabbit hole into Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Herbicide Resistance

It all sounds GREAT on paper.  Plants that can stand up to herbicides??? Awesome!  Now we don't have to pull weeds, just spray large quantities of this toxic compound directly onto the whole crop and it wipes out any trace of anything else without harming the crops themselves!  Let's pretend for a moment that this herbicide, which says right on the label just how toxic it is to ALL living things, stays right where it is, on the top of the soil and on those dirty nasty weeds.  Oh wait, that's an impossibility.  Inevitably, when those plants are watered whether by rain or by irrigation, that poison is going to end up flowing along with the water and down into our groundwater.  No problem, right?  I mean it's not like we drink that stuff....unless we have a well....
Even beyond the water contamination, the way GMOs are made is as follows:
Monsanto scientists find organisms that seem to be unaffected by the active ingredient in any given herbicide.  They take specific genes from this organism, whether bacteria, moth, spider, you name it, and splice them with the genes present in a given seed.  They then patent this seed and sell it in mass quantities to contracted "farmers".  I use the quotes because a true farmer grows more than just a single type of crop.  It's common sense, but we'll get into that later.  These "farmers" grow the plants, harvest them, and sell them to the public without indicating that this corn or soy or zucchini is different from naturally occurring plants.  The unknowing public buys their product and consumes traces of herbicide with every bite.

Cross Polination

Kind of a no-brainer, right?  Bees, butterflies, the wind...all helpers in this great thing called pollination.  Pollination allows for certain plants to produce fruit which may not without it.  It also can enhance a strain of plants by creating hybrids.  This is all naturally occurring stuff, right?  Well, tell that to Monsanto's executives and lawyers.  If by an act of nature, Monsanto seed pollen comes in contact with your non-Monsanto seed crop and one of their investigative spies comes along and takes a sample of your crop to test....and finds out that it has traces of Monsanto's patented product within the pollen............consider yourself sued, your land taken, and your future indebted to their service.  Don't believe it?  Talk to one of the hundreds of farmers currently being or having been sued for this very reason.  These people didn't even WANT the contamination to happen.  They wanted their pure strain without the baggage.  No matter, the multination corporation sues indiscriminately even if there is no evidence sometimes.  They want farmers to know that they run the show around here.

BT Toxin

Well, as I mentioned, most farmers are only growing monoculture (single type of food) crops.  You drive down any country road and all you can see for miles are corn fields.  Year after year, ear after ear, corn corn corn....
One of the biggest problems with monocultures is it's prone to disease and pest infestation!  Since only one type of plant is grown in this massive area, bugs and fungi that thrive on this particular food source see this as the opportunity of a lifetime and go in full force to satisfy their cravings.  This can lead to a massive loss in revenue for the "farmer" and increased food costs for the rest of us.  However, people have been catching on that pesticides = bad for everyone...not just bugs.  Monsanto's answer: put the pesticide in the seed's DNA!  Thus BT corn was..born?  Concocted.  Now, when insects try eating this tasty treat, their insides rupture and they die!  No more pesticide in the water supply, though!  But wait....if the poison is IN the plant...and people are growing the plant to eat....wait a minute this just doesn't compute!  Actually, traces of the BT toxin have been found in unborn babies.

I'm not even going to get into PCBs.  Look it up.  It's in the link below...along with some other nice reading material.


In order to protect itself from lawsuits and required labeling, Monsanto has lobbied their way into the United States government.

Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act on March 26 despite campaigning on our right to know.

What's wrong with lobbying?  Well, that's another discussion.  The point is, Monsanto is in the White House.  Obama signed into law the Monsanto Protection Act just this month which protects them from lawsuits regarding GMOs.  Funny how they should need that kind of protection really, I mean if their products are safe and all....  I digress.
This should answer any and all questions as to my point.  Monsanto lobbyists have found a comfortable job and a home within the EPA, FDA, USDA, Supreme Court, Congress, and the Senate.  Democrats, Republicans, they both took payment and pushed through the ideals of this multinational bully.  In almost every other nation in the world GMOs are either banned or required to be labeled.  Is there really any question as to why that hasn't happened in America yet?

The Right to KNOW

Sounds pretty basic.  It IS basic!  The right to know what is in our food and water is a fundamental right and is being blocked at every turn.  The regulatory boards will argue that these GMO foods are just as safe and are seen as an equivalent food as anything grown in nature.  But if they're the same, why can't we just go out and patent things found in nature?  If they're separate but equal, why is Monsanto able to sue those who save seeds?  Also, if they're so sure these foods are safe and are so proud of them as a feat of engineering, why wouldn't they want to display that pride on a label?  Because in other countries, and even in America, studies have linked GMOs to cancer, allergies, obesity, and other illnesses.

Another problem with Monocultures
Monsanto allows and pushes for "farmers" to grow specific crops in bulk every year.  I already explained how this is problematic as far as pest infestations go.  Now let's cover why it's destroying the earth.
When you plant a seed in the ground and it grows, produces fruit, and dies, it requires nutrients and minerals found within the soil.  Decomposing plant matter, plus a slew of other ingredients makes for healthy, living soil which allows for healthy, growing plants.  Each type of plant depletes the soil of specific nutrients.  If the same crop is planted in the same place repeatedly, the soil quality lessens...which means the food production slows....and eventually you are left with a desert.  Read up of the 1930 Dustbowl in the Midwest.  The soil became sandy...dust-like due to overuse and was unusable....

Crop Rotation
I covered this a bit in my gardening blog, but I feel like I should elaborate on why monocultures are killing the earth through a LACK of crop rotation.

When a plant grows, it uses up nutrients in the soil.  However, it also puts key ingredients back in, especially when it dies and decomposes.  If you rotate your crops properly, the nutrients used up in one season by a particular crop will be replenished the next by another and so on.

Organic v. Conventional Farming re: Profit per Acre
Organic, sustainable farming produces more and provides higher quality foods.

Conventional farming isn't only harmful to the soil, but to the air and any animals that may be hiding in the fields.

Organic wins by a landslide.
Organic farmers using no pesticide, no chemical (meaning made in a lab) fertilizers, and using proper crop rotation yields more high quality food at less cost than conventional farming methods.  Don't even get me started on raising animals.  That's an entire blog in itself.

I hope this has opened your eyes to an issue we all need to address.  I'm trying to push for a people's ballot initiative in Michigan to get GMO labeling as a legal requirement, but so far I need about 99,950 more signatures to even get a spot on a ballot.  I'm not going to quit until I succeed, but I need help.  We can all do our part by voting with our dollar in the meantime.  Yes, organic food is expensive.  Quite a bit more than conventional.  However, you don't have to start out with buying EVERYTHING organic.  Start with maybe a bag of oranges, apples, or a bunch of bananas.  My future Mrs. and I taste a VERY noticeable difference in our organic fruits v. conventionally grown fruit.  They're sweeter, juicier, and you feel their effects more.  Every purchase is registered in the store's database and when the demand for more organic produce increases, the price begins to decrease and farmers are made to comply with the growing demand.

Start a garden!  NO MIRACLE GROW!  That's cheating and it's poisonous.  If you eat soil, you're going to get dirt in your teeth and a bad taste in your mouth.  If you eat a fertilizer stake, you're going to be on the toilet for a while before you have to go to the hospital.  IF you must fertilize, use a good manure based compost.

Finally, here's a list of recommended documentaries to view.  They're all on Netfilx minus the first one.

The World According to Monsanto
Food Inc.
Food Matters
Hungry for Change
The Gerson Miracle
Forks over Knives

There are more, but off the top of my head this is all I could come up with.  Happy learning!

Just say no to Frankenfoods.

Sources (some)

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