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Monsanto is having a share holder meeting tonight.
In honor of the annual Monsanto shareholder meeting taking place today I have a special request to ask of you that can be done in less than 10 seconds.
Please share my letter to Monsanto shareholders and companies considering merger with Monsanto entitled “8 Reasons To Avoid Doing Business With Monsanto” that is currently trending on the Huffington Post. Let’s get the message to Monsanto shareholders that GMOs are not a sound investment!
Wednesday we defeated the DARK Act. And guess what? Today, General Mills has announced that it will begin labeling genetically engineered ingredients in all its products nationwide. This is a major victory for your right to know.
Oddly enough, General Mills has been one of the companies most vehemently opposed to GE labeling, spending millions of dollars to oppose state labeling initiatives around the country. Why would a company that has fought so hard to stop your right to know finally come around? Well, with the overwhelming defeat of the DARK Act this week they read the writing on the wall. As their public announcement made clear, General Mills’ decision to label was made because with our victory in the Senate they realized they had to begin labeling to obey the Vermont law which comes into effect in July.
This announcement follows Campbell’s decision in January to start labeling its own genetically engineered products. The move to national labeling by two of the largest food companies in the country also shows that labeling for GE ingredients will not increase costs to consumers as industry and some in Congress have claimed – both Campbell’s and General Mills have stated that prices will not increase due to the change in labels. These changes also show that, despite what they have been saying in Congress, and in the media, food companies can and will label their GE ingredients with simple words on the package, not hidden behind some QR code.
This shift could not have happened without YOU! CFS members like you joined together to send over half a million emails and phone calls to Congress demanding our right to know what it’s in our food. You beat back the DARK Act and now Congress and food companies are paying attention.
Thank you for all that you do – every action you take with us brings us one step closer to GE food labeling in the U.S. These victories truly belong to you!
From "Center for Food Safety"
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Monsanto Is Inside Everything and they could still try and stop Vermont's Labeling
By Dr. Mercola
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, recently earned the ominous title of the most heavily-used agricultural chemical of all time.1
In fact, an analysis showed that farmers sprayed enough glyphosate in 2014 to apply 0.8 pounds of the chemical to every acre of cultivated cropland in the U.S., and nearly 0.5 a pound of glyphosate to all cropland worldwide.
As you might suspect, when you use this much of a chemical, it doesn't simply stay on the fields. Laboratory testing commissioned by the organizations Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse revealed that glyphosate is now showing up virtually everywhere.
Monsanto's 'Gift' to Newborns
The analysis revealed glyphosate in levels of 76 μg/L to 166 μg/L in women's breast milk. As reported by The Detox Project, this is 760 to 1,600 times higher than the EU-permitted level in drinking water (although it's lower than the U.S. maximum contaminant level for glyphosate, which is 700 μg/L.)2
This dose of glyphosate in breastfed babies' every meal is only the beginning. An in vitro study designed to simulate human exposures also found that glyphosate crosses the placental barrier. In the study, 15 percent of the administered glyphosate reached the fetal compartment.
Angelika Hilbeck, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Institute of Integrative Biology in Zurich, told The Detox Project:3
"If confirmed in a full investigation, it seems that glyphosate has become a ubiquitous chemical in terms of presence and persistence.
This data also offers a first indication of potential accumulation in the human body, giving newborns a substantial dose of synthetic chemicals as a 'gift' for their start into life, with unknown consequences.
This is reckless and irresponsible conduct in a democratic society, which still has a living memory of previous reckless chemical contaminations, such as DDT."
Glyphosate Found in Blood and Urine Samples
The analysis revealed glyphosate in additional samples as well, including the blood of non-pregnant Canadian women. Their average level was 73.6 μg/L, which is similar to the concentration found to have endocrine-disrupting effects in vitro.
Further, glyphosate was also detected in urine samples, and U.S. women had maximum glyphosate levels that were more than eight times higher than levels found in urine of Europeans.
Where is the glyphosate exposure coming from? It's likely coming from food (although it could be in water as well). We don't know exactly how much glyphosate may be in your food because the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not test for it.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just announced in February 2016 that it would begin testing foods for glyphosate, however, which will help to quantify just how much glyphosate Americans are consuming.
For now, the analysis suggests that eating non-organic, genetically engineered (GE) foods (the prime candidates for Roundup spraying) is associated with higher glyphosate levels in your body. The Detox Project explained:4
"Glyphosate levels have been found to be significantly higher in urine of humans who ate non-organic food, compared with those who ate mostly organic food. Chronically ill people showed significantly higher glyphosate residues in their urine than healthy people.
In a separate detailed analysis, glyphosate was found in the urine of cows, humans, and rabbits. Cows kept in a GM-free area had significantly lower glyphosate concentrations in urine than cows in conventional livestock systems." Glyphosate Is Contaminating Air and Water
Glyphosate and its degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), were detected in more than 75 percent of air and rain samples collected during the 2007 growing season in the Mississippi Delta agricultural region.5
This could be even higher now, as since 1996 the use of glyphosate has risen nearly 15-fold.6 The testing commissioned by Moms Across America also found glyphosate in 13 of 21 U.S. drinking water samples tested.7
They contained glyphosate levels between 0.085 ug/l and 0.33 ug/l, which is only slightly below the EU maximum allowed level for glyphosate in drinking water of 0.1 ug/l. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for glyphosate in U.S. water supplies is 0.7 ppm.
Further, a 2012 analysis used a magnetic particle immunoassay to test for the presence of glyphosate in roughly 140 samples of groundwater from Catalonia, Spain. The analysis found that glyphosate was present above the limit of quantification in 41 percent of the samples.
This suggests the chemical does not break down rapidly in the environment, as its manufacturer claims, and instead it might be accumulating (both in the environment and in people).
Groundwater, which is water from rain, lakes, streams or other bodies of water that soaks into soil and bedrock, can easily become contaminated when chemicals in the soil with low biodegradability and high mobility empty into it.
When groundwater is used as a drinking water source, this contamination poses a risk to animals, plants and humans alike. Glyphosate Is Sprayed on Some Crops Right Before Harvest
In northern, colder regions, farmers of wheat and barley must wait for their crops to dry out prior to harvest.
Rather than wait an additional two weeks or so for this to happen naturally, farmers realized they could spray the plants with glyphosate, killing the crop and accelerating their drying (a process known as desiccating).
Desiccating wheat with glyphosate is particularly common in years with wet weather and has been increasing in North Dakota and Upper Midwestern states in the U.S., as well as in areas of Canada and Scotland (where the process first began). One Canadian farmer told EcoWatch:8
"I think every non-organic farmer in Saskatchewan uses glyphosate on most of their wheat acres every year … I think farmers need to realize that all of the chemicals we use are 'bad' to some extent …
Monsanto has done such an effective job marketing glyphosate as 'safe' and 'biodegradable' that farmers here still believe this even though such claims are false."
What this means is that even non-GE foods are likely to be contaminated with glyphosate, and possibly even more so because they're being sprayed just weeks prior to being made into your cereal, bread, cookies and the like.
Many Crops Are Desiccated With Glyphosate, a 'Barbaric' Process Along with wheat and oats, other crops that are commonly desiccated with glyphosate include:
Rye and buckwheat
No one is keeping track of how many crops are being desiccated with glyphosate; those in the industry have described it as a "don't ask, don't tell policy."
Others have described spraying crops with glyphosate just days before harvest "barbaric." Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the recent study showing glyphosate use is increasing,9 told EcoWatch:10
"It may be two percent of agriculture use, but well over 50 percent of dietary exposure … I don't understand why Monsanto and the food industry don't voluntarily end this practice. They know it contributes to high dietary exposure (of glyphosate)."
European Union Puts Off Decision to Renew Use of Glyphosate
European Commission leaders met in early March 2016 to vote on whether to renew a 15-year license for glyphosate, which is set to expire in June. The decision has been tabled for now amid mounting opposition. More than 180,000 Europeans signed a petition calling for glyphosate to be banned. They cited the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) determination that glyphosate is a "probable carcinogen" (Class 2A).
This determination was based on evidence showing the popular weed killer can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and lung cancer in humans, along with "convincing evidence" it can also cause cancer in animals. The opposition comes amidst another new report that found 75 percent of the German population has glyphosate residue in their urine.
The majority of those tested had levels that were five times higher than the legal limit of drinking water, while one-third had levels that were between 10 and 42 times higher than the legal limit.11 A study of glyphosate residues by the Munich Environmental Institute also found glyphosate in 14 best-selling German beers.12
Monsanto CEO Caught Lying
In a Twitter conversation with Monsanto, TriplePundit said they hoped to gain a "constructive conversation" and "build some bridges with an organization that has a lot of power and opportunity to do good."13 In the conversation, Monsanto's CEO Hugh Grant claimed the company's position on GMO labeling may be shifting, stating:
"The myth is that we're against labeling. The reality is we would support some kind of federal standard. We would support something that covers the country, that helps consumers. Our concern has been the danger of a state-by-state labeling approach that resulted in confusion and expense."
As TriplePundit reported, however, it's no "myth" that Monsanto is against such labeling:14
"This statement is somewhat at odds with Monsanto's website, last updated in 2013: 'We oppose mandatory labeling of food and ingredients developed from GM seeds in the absence of any demonstrated risks, as it could be interpreted as a warning or imply that food products containing these ingredients are somehow inferior to their conventional or organic counterparts.'"
Monsanto Spends Millions to Prevent GMO Labeling Initiatives
Monsanto has spent millions to defeat GMO labeling initiatives, so you won't know which foods contain their genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In 2013, the company donated nearly $5 million to the anti-labeling campaign in Washington State, and in 2012 they donated more than $7 million to help defeat California's Proposition 37. In total, Monsanto has spent at least $22 million in lobbying against state-level GMO labeling initiatives.15
Together with the food and industrial agriculture industries, biotechnology companies like Monsanto spent more than $101 million on lobbying to avert GMO labeling and preempt state rights, and that was in 2015 alone.16
They may feel defeat is near, as such lobbying efforts have risen sharply. For instance, these industries spent $66 million on such lobbying efforts in 2014 and just over $25 million in 2013.17 They are trying to HIDE the presence of genetically engineered ingredients and are pulling out ALL the stops to do so.
Health Risks of Glyphosate
Glyphosate has a number of devastating biological effects beyond being a probable carcinogen, including the following:
Nutritional deficiencies, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet)
Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself) Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency
Systemic toxicity — a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut, and food allergies such as gluten intolerance)
Enhancement of damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer's disease
How to Avoid Pesticides in Your Food
Your best bet for minimizing health risks from pesticide exposure is to avoid them in the first place, by eating organic as much as possible and investing in a good water filtration system for your home or apartment. If you know you have been exposed to pesticides, the lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation of kimchi may also help your body break down pesticides.
So including fermented foods like kimchi in your diet may also be a wise strategy to help detox the pesticides that do enter your body. One of the benefits of eating organic is that the foods will be free of GE ingredients — and this is key to avoiding exposure to toxic glyphosate. Following are some great resources to obtain wholesome organic food.
Eating locally-produced organic food will not only support your family's health, it will also protect the environment from harmful chemical pollutants and the inadvertent spread of genetically engineered seeds and chemical-resistant weeds and pests.
What You Need to Know About GMOs
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or genetically “engineered” (GE) foods, are live organisms whose genetic components have been artificially manipulated in a laboratory setting through creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and even viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
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.
The FDA cleared the way for GE (Genetically Engineered) Atlantic salmon to be farmed for human consumption. Thanks to added language in the federal spending bill, the product will require special labeling so at least consumers will have the ability to identify the GE salmon in stores. However, it's imperative ALL GE foods be labeled, which is currently still being denied.
The FDA is threatening the existence of our food supply. We have to start taking action now. I urge you to share this article with friends and family. If we act together, we can make a difference and put an end to the absurdity.
QR Codes Are NOT an Adequate Substitute for Package Labels
The biotech industry is trying to push the QR code as an answer for consumer concerns about GE foods. QR stands for Quick Response, and the code can be scanned and read by smart phones and other QR readers.
The code brings you to a product website that provides further details about the product. The video below shows you why this is not an ideal solution. There’s nothing forcing companies to declare GMOs on their website. On the contrary, GE foods are allowed to be promoted as “natural,” which further adds to the confusion.
These so-called "Smart Labels" hardly improve access to information. Instead, by making finding the truth time-consuming and cumbersome, food makers can be assured that most Americans will remain ignorant about the presence of GMOs in their products. Besides, everyone has a right to know what's in the food. You shouldn't have to own a smartphone to obtain this information.
Vermont's mandatory labeling law is scheduled to go into effect July 1. Now, Monsanto is going with the only strategy it has left to block it — a Senate version of H.R.1599, also referred to as the DARK (Denying Americans the Right to Know) Act. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan) introduced the bill, which would preempt Vermont's GMO labeling law, and replace state mandatory labeling laws with a federal voluntary labeling plan.
Fortunately, on March 16, the Senate rejected the bill, falling far short of the 60 votes it needed in its favor to pass. This is great news, but though the DARK Act was defeated, it's not over yet.
Roberts said he would still work to find another way to preempt the law, and majority leader Mitch McConnell changed his vote from YES to NO for procedural reasons. This allows him to bring up the bill again later if a compromise is created, and the creation of such a compromise is certainly already underway.
Vermont's law is set to take effect on July 1. It's imperative you take action now by contacting your senators. Ask them to oppose any compromise that would block or delay Vermont's labeling law. It's critical that we flood Senators' phone lines — it's now or never for GMO labeling.
If you are searching for non-GMO foods, here is a list of trusted sites you can visit.
Organic Food Directory (Australia)
Eat Wild (Canada)
Organic Explorer (New Zealand)
Eat Well Guide (United States & Canada)
Farm Match (United States)
Local Harvest (United States)
Weston A. Price Foundation (United States)
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After years of relentless campaigning to protect our right to know what is in the food we eat, this week we’ve achieved 4 HUGE victories!
1st — The Dark Act was voted down in Congress. If passed, this legislation would have stopped states from labeling GMOs — FOREVER. Thank you for taking action with us; sounds like Congress got the memo!
2nd — General Mills agreed to voluntarily label their foods that contain GMOs! Thanks to our pressure, they removed GMOs from original Cheerios in 2014. Now they will disclose the presence of GMOs in hundreds of products.
3rd — Mars agreed to voluntarily label GMOs. Thank you for signing the Mars petition over Valentine’s Day asking them to take this step!
4th — Kellogg’s agreed to voluntarily label GMOs! And we’re going to see a lot more companies following suit.
And just two months ago, Campbell’s took the lead by first revealing their GMO ingredients, and also calling for mandatory federal labeling of GMOs.
That is 5 VICTORIES for safe food in 2016… and it is only March!
From Green America
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Food Companies Plan to Label GMOs—but Is There More to the Story?
"It’s also worth noting that all of the companies that have revealed plans to label adamantly defend the “safety” of GMOs—without once mentioning the fact that the vast majority of GMO crops, from which GMO food ingredients are derived, are sprayed with glyphosate, classified last year by the World Health Organization as “a probable human carcinogen.” Clearly, we have a long way to go before food corporations acknowledge the devastating consequences of the GMO monoculture model on the environment, human health and global warming."
"A Campbell’s spokesperson responded by saying that regardless of what happens in Congress, Campbell’s products will be labeled, with the words “partially produced with genetic engineering,” in all 50 states. On the surface, that's good news. But let's not forget that a federal labeling bill could forbid companies from printing those, or similar words on a label, to prevent food producers from "stigmatizing" biotechnology."......
Timing is everything
General Mills, Mars and Kellogg’s all revealed their labeling plans after the Senate failed to pass S. 2609, a bill intended to preempt Vermont. It’s possible that their announcements signal that these food giants have conceded defeat, especially as they all noted the need to comply with the Vermont July 1 deadline.
That’s the optimistic view. But the timing of these announcements, made before the Senate returns to try again to try to pass a preemption bill, could also be part of a calculated strategy to win over more Senators to a compromise bill, one that will delay or outright preempt enactment of Vermont’s Act 120........
Whatever the new-and-improved version of the Senate bill morphs into, assuming the Senate passes a bill, it will have to go back to the U.S. House. There, members of a Republican-controlled Joint Standing Conference Committee will try to “reconcile” the Senate bill with the House version, H.R. 1599, which passed the House in July by a vote of 275 – 150. Guaranteed, the House won’t sign off on anything with the words “mandatory” or “on-package.” In fact, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), according to Politico, “declared just this week that he won't support on-package labeling, which he has said stigmatizes the technology.” Whatever ends up coming out of the committee will have to go back to the House and Senate for a full vote.
That leaves consumers no choice but to continue to hammer our Senators with this message: No compromise. Let Vermont’s law take effect. And if you really can’t tolerate supporting states’ rights to pass labeling laws, then pass a federal labeling law that meets, or preferably exceeds, the standards set by Vermont’s law.
Last edited by Rachel; March 24th, 2016 at 09:18 AM.
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"So what’s next? When Congress returns on April 4, after a two-week recess, we expect the pro-GMO, Monsanto-funded Democrats in the Senate, led by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), to keep working on a compromise bill. Stabenow has said all along that she wants a federal labeling bill that preempts Vermont. Can she come up with a compromise bill that accomplishes preemption, but is acceptable enough to win over a few more Senators? Enough to get the bill passed in the Senate? And turn consumers into April Fools?
TAKE ACTION: Call Sen. Debbie Stabenow and ask her to protect Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law
Dial 888-897-0174 to tell your Senators to vote against any compromise that would block or delay Vermont's bill from taking effect.
Help or organize an April Fool’s Day action at the home office of your Senator. Email campaigns (at) organicconsumers.org if you can help!"
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Thanks @Rachel for keeping us informed. I just left a message with Senator Stabenow to voice my displeasure over a compromise bill. I also wrote my Senator (Kaine, D, Va) and Representative (Griffith, R, Va), who had voted "yes" on the original House bill, but I felt he needed a reminder of my displeasure.
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