All posts by Nick Meyer

Victory! Former Monsanto Vice President Finally Stepping Down as FDA “Food Czar”

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Former Monsanto VP and FDA Deputy Commissioner of Foods Michael Taylor.

 

Was it a conflict of interest when former Monsanto Vice President Michael Taylor was named as the “Food Czar,” aka the Deputy Commissioner of Foods for then-new President Barack Obama’s FDA?

One thing’s for sure: it was an incredible betrayal to the millions of people who got behind Obama’s campaign in large part because he really seemed to “get it” like few other political candidates before him; as evidenced by his emphatic promise to label GMOs (that of course never came to fruition even though 90 percent-plus Americans routinely support mandatory labeling, a right afforded in over 60 countries across the world).

Now, after years of hand-wringing, frustration and anger from the general populace toward Taylor’s appointment, the “Monsanto Man” is finally set to step down, on (approximately) June 1 of this year according to a new article from the website Food & Water Watch.

“Our magnificently diverse food system is full of challenges and opportunities, and I plan to continue working toward its success, especially in settings where people lack regular accesses to sufficient, nutrition and safe food,” Taylor wrote in a letter to friends according to the article. “I suspect our paths will cross again.”

To the countless people who petitioned against the clear conflict of interest of hiring Taylor and other strongly pro-Monsanto people to be put in charge of the food system, his final comments sound like more of the same, like Taylor never quite got the message: “safe food” and “diverse food system” read like classic GM industry PR talking points. The U.S. food system remains heavily dominated by mostly genetically engineered commodity crops like corn and soy which are heavily subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.

It is not known whether Taylor will rejoin the government or FDA at some point but as the above article mentions he has strong ties to Monsanto:

As a young lawyer at the firm of King & Spalding, he worked with Monsanto as a client before joining FDA. When he left government the first time after working for both FDA and USDA, he did a stint as vice president for public policy at Monsanto before doing additional academic and think tank work.

Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s acting commissioner, will take over Taylor’s duties according to the article, bringing a Western medicine-based background to the agency.

Ostroff has been with the FDA since 2013 as chief medical officer in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and was also the senior public health adviser to FDA’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine. He has “consulted for the World Bank and public health projects in South Asia and Latin America.” In addition, he will be working with new head of the FDA Robert Califf, who has extremely strong ties to Big Pharma.

What this could mean for Monsanto and GMOs remains to be seen, but with pro-Monsanto Congresspeople continuing to secretly push bills that would deny our right to mandatory labeling, it’s important to continue to follow these developments.

Check out the Food & Water Watch article on Taylor by clicking here, and you can also watch a segment on Taylor during which he was grilled by a French journalist about a “conflict of interest” by clicking on this link (his response is quite emblematic of the entire Monsanto-friendly era ushered in by Obama and other establishment members from both political parties, and its distinct lack of accountability).

Should the GMO and Vaccine Safety Movements Be Separate or Combined?

For many years people in both the clean (organic) food and vaccine safety movements have been isolated from each other, even though their causes bear many similarities.

The issue of genetically modified organisms has been at the forefront of grassroots activists’ consciousness for the past few years as evidenced by the millions that march in the streets worldwide, and now the “green our vaccines” movement is also gaining traction.

Recently on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congressman Bill Posey sounded the alarm over documents destroyed by the CDC that may have potentially linked vaccine additives to higher rates of autism in children.

And even big names like actor Jim Carrey are starting to spread awareness over vaccine injury statistics and other facts and statistics linking the shots to serious injuries in children.

Now a new column from Sayer Ji of GreenMedInfo is sharing his opinion on the similarities between the GMO freedom and vaccine safety (or non-vaccine) movements.

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Anti-GMO, But Pro-Vaccine? 

Because of the controversial nature of the vaccine safety and/or non-vaccine movement, which is often misconstrued as a blatantly, monolithic “anti-vaccine” movement, many food freedom advocates have decided to avoid the issue.

But as Mr. Ji notes in this article, the two causes share many similarities:

If you look closely you’ll see the exact same concerns: the violation of informed consent, the neglect of the precautionary principle, predominance of industry propaganda over actual science, the revolving door between government regulators and legislators and industry, and the undermining of the fundamental right of bodily self-possession, the keystone of health freedom. And yet, these two groups behave as if they are fighting their own separate battles, with the end result that they usually are.

Big “organic” companies like Horizon (which is owned by WhiteWave, a spin-off of the pro-GMO Dean Foods) and Organic Valley also admit that they use vaccines in their veterinary operations, which Ji argues is far from organic in nature, calling such practices “organic-washing.”

He also talks about the highly controversial (and one many say unnecessary) HPV vaccine and its direct use of GMO ingredients:

The HPV vaccine, for instance, which is comprised of a genetically modified form of yeast containing HPV-like antigens, has the worst adverse reports events (some lethal) on record. Mind you, it has never once been proven to prevent a single case of cervical cancer because proxy markers for efficacy and not clinical proof were all the FDA required for its approval. Where is the non-GMO uproar about this?

Ji makes some excellent points in the article, which can be read by clicking here.

Check it out and then come back and let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook page, do you think that the GMO and vaccine safety/non-vaccine movements should work together or be separate?

 

 

Full Report on Glyphosate (Main Ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup) and Cancer Released by World Health Organization

Monsanto has long insisted that its Roundup product, the best-selling herbicide sprayed gratitously on farmland across the country, is safe.

But a bombshell report earlier this year linked it to cancer, causing a massive backlash against the St. Louis-based agrochemical giant.

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Now, the report is being published in full by the World Health Organization.

The report, which was researched and written by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, can be view in a PDF form online by clicking on this link.

As noted in this article by the website Sustainable Pulse, the herbicide is used on 80% of GM crops worldwide, which engineered to be sprayed en masse with the chemical.

A total of 17 experts from 11 countries on cancer were able to reach the conclusion that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. Monsanto slammed the report and disagreed with its findings.

In response several bans have been discussed; Sri Lanka actually did ban the herbicide while supermarkets in Europe have been shelving the products as well.

For more info on the ban and the report check out the Sustainable Pulse article by clicking here.

Nick Meyer writes for MAM and AltHealthWORKS.com

Over 94% of Americans Want MANDATORY GMO Labeling, New Poll Shows

The mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs (genetically  modified organism) is a right afforded to residents of over 60 countries around the world.

But in the United States, the House of Representatives just voted to ban mandatory GMO labeling with with the passing of a misleading “Safe and Accurate” GMO labeling bill HR1599, dubbed the DARK Act by food freedom activists who want to know what’s really in their food.

The bill would actually do away with many important initiatives such as the Non-GMO Verfication Project and ban states from enacting their own citizen-driven plans to require mandatory labels, at a time when interest is ratcheting up for the GMO labeling movement.

The MSNBC poll results were not even close.

The MSNBC poll results were not even close. But are our “representatives” in the Senate listening?

Mandatory GMO Labeling Wins in a Slam Dunk

As has been noted several times on this blog and in articles from several different news outlets, whether the people want mandatory GMO labeling is not even up for debate anymore.

Nationwide polls have consistently shown that Americans want their Right to Know, and a recent MSNBC online poll was no different: a whopping 119,000+ out of 126,000 voters responded that GMO labeling should be mandatory, for a total of over 94% in favor of GMO labeling.

While GMO labeling measures have failed in states like California and Oregon in the recent past, those initiatives were tainted as Big Food companies along with Monsanto and the GMA badly outspent their opposition to the tune of tens of millions of dollars to confuse voters with misleading scare campaigns about the prices of groceries going up. Vermont has also passed a GMO labeling bill but is being sued by the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association to prevent it from going into effect, yet another assault on states’ rights on behalf of the chemical giants.

For more on the poll, check out this link. And be sure to take action against the DARK Act and GMO labeling ban, which now heads to the Senate, by clicking on this link, sharing this information, and calling your local Senator’s office.

Nick Meyer writes for March Against Monsanto and the health website AltHealthWORKS.com

What You Need to Know About the DARK Act (Plus How to Stop it In Its Tracks)

The DARK Act passed the House on July 23, 2015 in what was yet another major step toward passing into law a measure that could effectively ban GMO labeling at the statewide level.

Despite nationwide polls by major media outlets consistently showing that over 90% of Americans want GMO labeling, a right afforded in over 60 countries around the world, the Right to Know what’s in our food is at now stake more than ever before.

For weeks news updates surrounding the mysterious DARK Act, introduced as HR1599 by Mike Pompeo of Kansas (who has taken contributions from both Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association), was hard to come by as the House vote drew near.

Word began to spread on Facebook that it was even being censored on newsfeeds everywhere preventing it from being read and people from knowing and calling their reps.

Now that the bill has passed, all of a sudden it is actually trending on Facebook.

While the bill passing the House is a setback, Anthony Gucciardi from the website Natural Society came out recently with the video below on how the news of its passing can help increase awareness and lead to positive momentum toward stopping it.

You can view it on our Facebook page by clicking here.

You can also help stop the DARK Act by calling your Senator and telling them to oppose any legislation that would ban mandatory GMO labeling, a right afforded in 60+ countries around the world. A vote is expected soon in the Senate; you can find your Senator by clicking on the links below:

http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

http://govsm.com/w/Senate

A DARK Day: The End Of Food Freedom?

By Tami Canal, MAM Founder 

More of our democracy has died today. Despite the nearly 93% of American people that demand GMO labeling, today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of mighty corporations and the Grocery Manufacturers Association to circumvent any right We The People have to know what’s in the food we buy and feed our families.

Big dollars and biotech influence in D.C. have once again reigned supreme. It is an abomination that our elected officials time and again do the bidding of rich corporations instead of fulfilling the demands of the very people who put them in office.

We will not stop. The cronyism and corruption on display today is one of the fundamental reasons March Against Monsanto was created. It is our time in history to stop the corporate hijacking of our food supply.

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This is not a fight to shelve for another generation. We are hanging on to the shreds of food freedom and, if we do not act, if we do not become a greater force to be reckoned with, all will be lost. Do not give up hope. We will march on.

Although the passing of the DARK Act today is a defeat, we still hold the power. Never has it been more important to grow your own food and support local farmers. Continue to stand by companies who are responsible.

And most importantly, wield your greatest weapon: the almighty dollar. Boycott Monsanto and other corporations who routinely choose wealth before health and profit over people. We hope to see everyone at the Food Justice March in D.C. October 16-17, 2015.

Hollywood Food Activism Goes Mainstream: Brad Pitt Has a Special Message for Costco

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Food activism has suddenly become hip in Hollywood, and even Brad Pitt is now getting in on the act.

Recently, Pitt reached out to the supermarket giant Costco, which was expected to become the number one seller of organic food in the United States, asking them to change something very important about their operations.

In 2007, Costco made a major promise to its consumers about its egg industry that could have made a serious change in the animal welfare department in this country, and yet Pitt and others are accusing the retail giant of not living up to it.

According to this article from the website TakePart, Bill Maher, Ryan Gosling and others are among those who have called out Costco on the promise to source its eggs from cage-free suppliers.

Costco Mistreatment? 

Prior to the Pitt announcement, the Humane Society allegedly showed hens being badly treated at a Costco supplier in June.

Pitt had the following to say: “As you know, these birds producing eggs for your shelves are crammed five or more into cages that are not large enough for even one hen to spread her wings,” Pitt wrote in a letter addressed to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek. “In these cruel cages, the animals’ muscles and bones atrophy from years of immobilization. That’s why the cages are illegal in most of Europe, and why California banned the cages by an overwhelming vote years ago.”

(As the Takepart article noted the California law outlaws battery cages but in effect gives the birds more room).

Pitt hasn’t been satisfied with the explanations of Costco to date.

“I admire Costco’s many positive social commitments. You’ve shown great courage and integrity on a range of issues,” he wrote in his letter. “Won’t you please extend that sensibility—and basic decency—to chickens?”

For more on this story visit the TakePart page here. It’s also worth knowing that cage-free and organic are far from the same and organic, pastured eggs are always best, preferably from small farmers and not large-scale industrial operations. Most chickens are fed GMO soy and corn feed but are naturally designed to roam free and eat from the yard. 

New Study Finds Something Very Disturbing About Monsanto’s GMO Soy

The establishment will tell you that GMO soy and corn are “substantially equivalent” to their organic and non-GMO counterparts until they’re blue in the face.

But what happens when independent scientific literature comes out showing the complete opposite of this policy in the United States?

The research tends to get ignored, if the past is any indication.

Recently new research came out regarding something in GMO soy that some would call quite disturbing, and it has a lot to do with the health of these foods and their impact on the human body.

Should you continue to eat GMO soy? That depends on how much you value your health, the data suggests.

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Formaldehyde Found in Large Concentrations 

According to the aforementioned study, formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that can shut down key bodily functions once it accumulates, has been found at surprisingly high levels in GMO soy.

As mentioned in this post by the website GMO Free USA, these high levels of formaldehyde end up “(creating) significant disruption to the levels of glutathione, an important antioxidant necessary for cellular detoxification…” 

Glutathione has also been called the body’s “master hormone” but numerous health practitioners praising its benefits.

This has the effect of negatively affecting plant metabolism and has many potential impacts on both plant and human health. Activists including those from the March Against Monsanto have been calling for further and actual independent testing of GMOs before they are rushed to the market, and reports such as these are the main basis for those calls.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Agricultural Sciences and was authored by Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D., an MIT-trained scientist and systems biologist.

For more on the study including charts comparing GMO and Non-GMO soy in this and other areas, you can click on this link.

Nick Meyer writes for MAM and the website AltHealthWORKS.com

California Residents None Too Pleased With Fascist New Seed Saving Law

One of the biggest criticisms of Monsanto has been not just its dangerously untested genetically modified crops and chemicals, but also their desire to control just about everything related to food “from seed-to-table.”

The company’s practices are just one example of what has become a nationwide crackdown on food sovereignty and the rights and freedoms of family farmers and even gardeners, and nowhere is that presence more clear than in California, which passed a new seed-saving law that has many in the Golden State incensed.

As noted in this article from the Lake County Record-Bee, the simple practice of exchanging green bean seeds for some pinto bean seeds with another person who lives more than three miles away is now considered to be a crime.

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Lake County, CA. PHOTO Via lakecountyrodeo.sharepoint.com

Individual farmers must adhere to the same strict quality control and packaging standards just to make a simple trade of the seeds that have been freely given out by Mother Nature since the dawn of mankind.

“They are limiting diversity. Diversity is what runs the planet,” resident Ron Kiczenski said to the newspaper. “If we can’t trade seeds like our ancestors did, how are we going to keep that diversity and tradition alive?”

This particular line in the law, passed last summer in California, is the one most want taken out: “…sell(ing) includes offer for sale, expose for sale, possess for sale, barter or trade.”

Protesters took aim at the law, AB2470, on Seed Freedom Day earlier this month.

The law is just one example of a cavalcade of similar ones that have taken root across the United States and even reaching into other nations where large mutli-national seed corporations are present.

For more on the law and the residents’ complaints, check out the original article here.

Nick Meyer writes for MAM and the website AltHealthWORKS.com.

Argentinian Town Ravaged by Cancer Stands Up to Mass Pesticide Sprayings

The nation of Argentina has been a magnet for new genetically modified soy, corn and other monoculture farming practices, and it hasn’t been easy on many of the local people.

One town in particular that has been suffering is Monte Maiz in Cordoba, Argentina, where the director of the local hospital, Hugo Betiol, announced in 2005 that he had noticed a dramatic spike in cancer cases locally which may in fact be linked to heavy sprayings of crops in the region.

Cases of lupus and malformations in children have also been on the rise according to this article on GMWatch.org. A large number of spontaneous abortions in the area were also documented as well.

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The town of Monte Maz, Argentina. PHOTO: Trip-Suggest.com

New Ordinances Passed 

According to the GMWatch article, the town has unanimously adopted a new ordinance that sets the limit on pesticide sprayings and also bans the storage of these dangerous agrochemicals within its borders.

As noted by those in the town, however, working to make sure the restrictions are actually followed is going to be “much harder” than simply passing the law.

That being said, the ordinance is a victory for the people of the town, who have already suffered greatly under the system of GMO crops and chemicals that has been foisted upon them.

As noted in this article, a five-fold increase of cancer has been found.

Citizens have come together in an attempt to raise awareness about these problems, however, and created advocacy and action groups with the hopes of curtailing or even stopping the sprayings. The hope now is that this ordinance can at least curb some of the out-of-control harm that is being done to the town’s citizens while also shedding light on the dangers of these chemicals on a wider scale.

What has happened to the citizens of Monte Maiz has led to some journalists to call the town a “poster child” for the dangers of GMO crops and the large amounts of agrochemicals that come with them, agrochemicals that the crops are designed to withstand.

For more on the ordinance and what led to its passing, check out the original article here.

Nick Meyer writes for March Against Monsanto and the website AltHealthWORKS.com