AddThis Feed Button "Frequently Copied, Never Duplicated"

Monday, June 21, 2010

Know Your GMO

UPDATE, JUNE 21: High Court Delivers Ruling that Leaves Ban on Planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa in Place in First-Ever Case on a Genetically-Engineered Crop
The United States Supreme Court announced its decision today in Monsanto v. Geerston Farms, the first genetically modified crop case ever brought before the Supreme Court.  Although the High Court decision reverses parts of the lower courts’ rulings, the judgment holds that the ban on planting Roundup Ready Alfalfa still stands until and unless future deregulation by the Agency occurs.  This is a major victory for the Center for Food Safety and the Farmers and Consumers it represents!
In the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Court held: “In sum…the vacatur of APHIS’s deregulation decision means that virtually no RRA (Roundup Ready Alfalfa) can be grown or sold until such time as a new deregulation decision is in place, and we also know that any party aggrieved by a hypothetical future deregulation decision will have ample opportunity to challenge it, and to seek appropriate preliminary relief, if and when such a decision is made.” (Opinion at p. 22).
The Court also held that:
  • Any further attempt to commercialize RRA even in part may require an EIS subject to legal challenge. 
  • The Court further recognized that the threat of transgenic contamination is harmful and onerous to organic and conventional farmers and that the injury allows them to challenge future biotech crop commercializations in court.
USDA indicated at the Supreme Court argument that full deregulation is about a year away and that they will not pursue a partial deregulation in the interim.  Any new attempt at deregulation in full or part will still be subject to legal challenge.
Many of you may have read press this morning reporting that the 7-1 decision announced by the Supreme Court today went entirely in Monsanto's favor. Not to our surprise, Monsanto’s PR machine is working hard to overpower the truth in today's decision in the first-ever Supreme Court case on genetically engineered crops (Monsanto Co. v.  Geertson Seed Farms). While the decision is complicated, this Court opinion is in many ways a victory for CFS and a defeat against Monsantoespecially given that it is still illegal to sell or plant GMO alfalfa.
CFS’s Executive Director, Andrew Kimbrell authored an article in today's Huffington Post to help clarify the legal ramifications of the decision. Grist also has a good piece outlining the decision, as does Eco Centric.
Despite what Monsanto is claiming—and what many mainstream media outlets reported earlier this morning—today’s ruling isn’t even close to the victory they were hoping for. Generally speaking, Monsanto asked the Supreme Court to rule on three main issues: (1) to lift the injunction on GMO alfalfa; (2) to allow the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa; (3) to rule that contamination from GMO crops not be considered irreparable harm.
In fact, the court only ruled on the first request which it did affirm by stating that the injunction was overly broad and should be overturned. However, the Court ruled in CFS's favor on the other two issues, which in many ways are more important as the fact remains that the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa remains illegal. The Supreme Court ruled that an injunction against planting was simply unnecessary since, under lower courts’ rulings, Roundup Ready Alfalfa became a regulated item and illegal to plant.  In other words, the injunction was “overkill’ because our victory in lower federal court determined that USDA violated the National Environmental Protection Act and other environmental laws when it approved Roundup Ready alfalfa.  The court felt that voiding the USDA’s decision to make the crop legally available for sale was enough.
The Center is victorious in this case in several other ways: most importantly, the High Court did not rule on several arguments presented by Monsanto about the application of federal environmental law.  As a result, the Court did not make any ruling that could have been hurtful to National Environmental Policy Act or any other environmental laws.  In addition, the Court opinion supported the Center’s argument that gene flow is a serious environmental and economic threat.  This means that genetic contamination from GMOs can still be considered harm under the law, both from an environmental and economic perspective, another huge victory for CFS. 
We could not have gone all the way to the Supreme Court without your support—thank you! Your letters, phone calls and donations have been invaluable in the efforts to ban GE alfalfa. We will keep you updated on any Agency attempts to deregulate GE alfalfa and on the ongoing EIS process. In the meantime, if you have not already done so, please take a moment to contact your Congressional representatives and ask them to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter circulating in the U.S. House and Senate urging USDA to ban GE alfalfa.

Further background information on the history of this case and scientific studies are available at http://truefoodnow.org/publications/supreme-court-briefs/. Today’s press release can be found here: http://truefoodnow.org/2010/06/21/supreme-court-ruling-in-monsanto-case-is-victory-for-center-for-food-safety-farmers/#more-1217, and The Supreme Court decision can be viewed here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/09-475.pdf 


UPDATE: 28 May - 
Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality
"This study was just routine," said Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov, in what could end up as the understatement of this century. Surov and his colleagues set out to discover if Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) soy, grown on 91% of US soybean fields, leads to problems in growth or reproduction. What he discovered may uproot a multi-billion dollar industry.
After feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. They also suffered slower growth, and a high mortality rate among the pups.
And if this isn't shocking enough, some in the third generation even had hair growing inside their mouths—a phenomenon rarely seen, but apparently more prevalent among hamsters eating GM soy.
Tom Vilsack was well known to be a great Monsanto cheerleader before Obama selected him for AG Secretary -

Now here's another chance to let him and Health Secretary Sebelius know how dangerous GMO's are to health and why labelling MUST be required on food.  


You Do Have the Right to Know

Action Alert – Protect Your Right to Know Which Foods Contain GMOs

Please send this URGENT message to U.S. Government leaders to protect your right to know which foods are made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Click and send an email today to the Secretaries of State (Clinton), Agriculture (Vilsack), and Health and Human Services (Sebelius). Please try to do this before Wednesday, May 5th, but don’t stop until they come around.

They must stop U.S. negotiators at an international (Codex) conference from May 3-7, from pushing an agenda that could make it difficult for anyone, anywhere in the world to label foods as genetically modified (GM) – or even make non-GMO claims on their product’s label.

The U.S. is taking the ridiculous and unscientific position that GMOs are not different from conventional foods, claiming labels that say GMO or non-GMO are misleading.

If they succeed at the meeting, the U.S. may then file lawsuits through the World Trade Organization against any country that implements mandatory labeling of GMOs, or even allows non-GMO claims on packages.

This Is a Grave Threat to the Non-GMO Tipping Point – We Must Push Back Now!

The growing evidence and concern about health dangers of GMOs is making waves. A renowned US Medical organization (American Academy of Environmental Medicine) called on doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. Consumers are seeking non-GMO brands, and the fastest growing claim among store brands in 2009 was “GMO-Free” (Neilson Survey). The trade journal Supermarket News predicts GMO concerns will erupt this year, specifically because consumers are now given choices by the new Non-GMO Shopping Guide website and the Non-GMO Project’s third-party verified standard for making non-GMO claims.

Most Americans (53%) say they would avoid GMOs if they were labeled. But even 5% would likely be enough to create a tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing all GM ingredients out of our food supply.

We can see the tipping point just over the horizon, but it is now threatened by the US position at Codex.

Tell our government leaders that you will not stand for this outrageous obstruction of our democracy and human rights. Demand that the U.S. support the right for countries everywhere to label GMOs. And remind them that 9 out of 10 Americans want mandatory GMO labeling, and that President Obama actually made a campaign pledge to implement it—which are all waiting for.

Send an email today

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This email was sent by The Institute for Responsible Technology, located at PO Box 469 - Fairfield, IA 52556 -

Kagan goes to bat for Monsanto
U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court, is the most recent in a long line of pro-biotech Obama appointees.
As Solicitor General, Kagan submitted a friend of the court brief to the Supreme Court in favor of Monsanto's appeal in Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms.
Monsanto is trying to get the Supreme Court to force genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa onto the market, despite passionate opposition from organic consumers and farmers, and despite the fact the USDA never did a proper Environmental Impact Statement. Geerston Seed Farms made the case that GE alfalfa would permanently contaminate their GE-free alfalfa seed, prompting a California US District Court to effectively ban Monsanto's GE alfalfa.
As Solicitor General, Kagan is supposed to represent the interests of the American people in matters that come before the Supreme Court. Instead, she went to bat for Monsanto Co.

ORIGINAL POST DATE 5/4/10

1 comment:

herbalYODA said...

Biochemist Arpad Pusztai had more than 300 articles and 12 books to his credit and was the world's top expert in his field. But when he accidentally discovered that genetically modified (GM) foods are dangerous, he became the biotech industry's bad-boy poster child, setting an example for other scientists thinking about blowing the whistle.
http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/gmo/problems_with_genetically_modified_foods_2902100104.html