Get PJ Media on your Apple

Bill on Genetically Modified Food Sneaks Through in CR

The language essentially prohibits the courts from halting the planting of genetically modified seeds.

by
Bill Straub

Bio

April 3, 2013 - 1:02 am
Page 1 of 2  Next ->   View as Single Page

WASHINGTON – Food-safety advocates are furious over a provision contained in a spending measure signed into law before recesss that protects biotech corporations from litigation related to genetically engineered seeds.

Most lawmakers apparently were unaware of the existence of what is being called the Monsanto Protection Act, a reference to the giant agribusiness concern that stands to benefit from the measure. It was included in the continuing resolution that funds the federal government through Sept. 30.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee who guided the measure through the upper chamber, said the rider was attached to the legislation before she took the panel’s reins in January, succeeding Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat, who died late last year. A statement released by the Department of Agriculture said Secretary Tom Vilsack intends to seek a review, expressing concern that the provision is unenforceable since it preempts judicial review.

“Americans are outraged that Congress has once again brokered a backroom deal that undermines our basic democratic rights to favor irresponsible chemical and biotech seed companies like Monsanto,” said Dave Murphy, executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots movement founded to protect family farm agriculture and the environment. “For the past 20 years, Americans have been kept in the dark about the food they eat and the science behind it because our elected officials and regulatory agencies would rather cozy up to biotech giants like Monsanto and DuPont than work faithfully to represent the will of their constituents.”

The controversy centers around Section 735 of House Resolution 933, signed by President Obama on March 26 — compromise legislation needed to avoid a government shutdown by funding programs through the remainder of the fiscal year. Officially called the Farmer Assurance Provision, it allows growers to continue cultivating biotech crops, approved by the USDA, that face lawsuits challenging their safety. The language essentially prohibits the courts from halting the planting of genetically modified seeds.

The now-controversial provision carries some support. The American Soybean Association, in a letter to Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, maintained that opponents of agricultural biotechnology “have repeatedly filed suits against USDA on procedural grounds in order to disrupt the regulatory process and undermine the science-based regulation of such products.”

“These lawsuits have also created tremendous resource constraints for USDA and have resulted in significant delays in approval of new, innovative products that will help growers provide Americans with an abundant and economical food supply while remaining competitive in the world market,” the letter said.

Monsanto, the target of most of the criticism, issued a statement on its website stating claims asserting that genetically modified crops are unsafe and untested are “untrue.” The first large acreage plantings of GM crops — herbicide tolerant soybeans and canola — took place in 1996 after successfully passing federal review.

“Since then, additional GM crops with herbicide tolerance, insect tolerance and virus resistance have been given clearance for planting and consumption,” the company said. “These include varieties of corn, sugar beets, squash and papaya. All of these crops have been assessed for food and feed safety in producing countries and many more countries have approved the import of food or food ingredients that contain GM products. Hundreds of millions of meals containing food from GM crops have been consumed. There has not been a single substantiated instance of illness or harm associated with GM crops.”

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
No. What this legislation says is that when there *is* proof that will stand up in court, we can't hold Monsanto or other like corporations responsible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The one problem I see that hasn't been addressed with GM foods/seeds is the impact that insect resistant crops have on bee populations. Everyone agrees that there is a problem with our bees, the cause of which has yet to be determined. Without looking into the impact of GM plants we are potentially overlooking a major cause of our future food shortages.

A few weeks ago I read about a beekeeper in Illinois that had spent 15 years studying his bees and the impact that Monsanto's GM crops had on the decline in populations. Then one day a complaint was filed by Monsanto claiming a diseased hive. The Illinois Ag inspector seized and destroyed all his hives without notice, without due process, and without a warrant when he wasn't even home. And since the hives were destroyed prior to any testing, no evidence of any disease.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (37)
All Comments   (37)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Its definitely the most-financially rewarding Ive ever done. Make money with Google. $85 an hour! I work two shifts 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening. And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids I follow this great link
http://qr.net/Freelance
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This makes no sense at all. Suppose they introduced a law saying that no matter what, a car maker could not be sued for anything wrong with their product? Or apply that to a company that constructed homes, or airplanes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is a very strong body of evidence that genetically modified wheat, Gluten and chemical by-products, are responsible for the epidemic obesity and type II diabetes not just in this nation but around the world. At least one doctor chemist reports with good authority that one of the by-products of the break down of genetically altered gluten, whole wheat is a poison that was a main one of the pesticide Agent Orange. I stopped eating whole wheat/gluten and my health showed immediate improvements. I fully believe that the genetic modification of other plants can be just as dangerous. Yes , genetically modified wheat is feeding the world, but at what cost?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is a real disconnect about GM foods.

For thousands of years, people have been known to breed animals and food plants for certain characteristics. The original methods took a long time, but we have modified cows, goats, chickens, etc., beyond their original state.

With GM foods, we've merely shortened the time it takes to breed for certain characteristics - ability to withstand drought, repel insects, etc. - through direct manipulation of DNA.

I fail to see the difference other than the time it takes.

Once again, emotion trumps logic and fact.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maybe a basic understanding of biology would help. Plants are not modified in the same way that animals are! Animals always have the same number of genes regardless of combining. Plants add genes when genetically modified. Original wheat had eight chromosomes, modern wheat has 64 (sixty four)! Once again emotion trumps logic and fact!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And? This modified wheat can withstand bad conditions, making it ideal for horrible climates.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Nobody "snuck" it in the bill, and most lawmakers knew it was part of the CR when they signed it.
I have a problem with regulating small farmers Ranchers and businessmen out of existence. I do not however have a problem with GM crops. Is there not a way to support both?

Also, it seems unconstitutional to have any law or rule beyond the judiciaries purview. Everything having to do with our government should be able to be challenged in some way.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have a very big problem with any bill giving blanket immunity to proceeding with the potential of a very hu8ge health problem such as genetic modification of plant, particularly our food source, since it has clearly been proven to be a health hazard, and the potential results and known results have been hidden from the public for years.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sounds like a lot of the Precautionary Principle to me: if you can imagine any problem, no matter how unlikely you shouldn't do it.

That sort of thing is very EU and can be very costly in the long run. I really get tired of the noise. No one wants to debate or research look at climate change, it all become a question of faith rather than thought.

Let's give it a try: all decisions are reversible, and maybe buy insurance too.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Once again, this was passed under the cover of night, so to speak, in this case, buried in a Continuing Resolution where it has absolutely no business being. That fact alone speaks volumes about the honesty and integrity of Milkulski--she has neither. It should be noted that the "studies" done to determine the safety of genetically modified foods was done by......wait for it.......wait for it......the Evil Monsanto and the lenght of the study was not years, as one would hope, by a few months. Their conclusion? GMO's are "safe."

We have no idea what the long term effects are going to be. Worse yet, no one is mandating that any foods we buy must be labeled as containing GMO's are being pursued by Congress. Many European countries either don't allow GMO foods or require they be labeled. Did anyone ever consider or rise in diagnosis of ADHD, autism and Alzheimer's might be linked to GMO's? Oddly, the rise in these devastating diseases has increased since the advent of the GMO's.

All we want it to know what we are putting in our bodies and demand genetically modified foods be labeled as such. God only knows what they are trying to force us to eat. Things like salmon genetically modified with DNA to make them grow bigger faster, know to many of us as Frankenfish. As a result, I won't touch salmon unless I know who caught it and where. When will these scientists learn not to mess with Mother Nature. Every time they try to make something better, the exact opposite happens.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We are being ruled by children. I have spent several years doing yard duty at my children’s school and there is an inevitable pattern to their play. They spend the first two minutes playing the game and the next 43 minutes gaming the rules.

Clearly we are in the “wish for more wishes” territory here. You cannot legally pre-empt your opponents from a legal challenge. Not the way the game is played, but clearly they will ensure we need to refight the basic rules of the game.

Children, and not the bright ones either.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
GM foods can potentially eliminate hunger in 3rd world nations. This is just another way for the green food Nazis to impose population control on the world.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
GM foods have essentially eliminated starvation in most of the world. Nation that could not feed their populace on rice a few decades ago do so now with genetically modified wheat/gluten which gives them epidemic obesity and diabetes!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
First of all, nothing is going to eliminate hunger this side of heaven. However, foods grown with responsible techniques and no poison can not only potentially feed more people with better food, but already are.

I am truly shocked at the response to this article ... I would think there would be more outrage by people who frequent a conservative media outlet over the sneaky way this was done... and over *what* was done. The legislative branch of the government cutting off our right to judicial review? And the bulk of the response is to make ad hominen attacks on people who care about the food supply and want to know what we're buying? Wow.

http://www.naturalnews.com/039766_rice_farming_organic_agriculture_yields.html
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Fine. Then YOU eat it. I want it labeled so I don't have to. God only knows what the long term effects of eating these "foods" will do to the human body.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We do know! It is called epidemic obesity and diabetes type II for starters!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've seen accusations against genetically modified foods, but no proof which would stand up in court.

Many arguments used by the anti-GM activists are silly. They remind me of the Luddites. The Luddites used violence to to destroy automatic looms which threatened their members occupations. The best way to think about them is that they wanted a restraint of trade. The new automatic looms were producing cloth cheaper that they could. But the looms had the capability of clothing people who were naked before.

If you want a higher standard of living then you must allow people trapped in antiquated technologies to go out of business. Capitalism allows for creative destruction of industries which no longer serve their purpose. Thus, buggy whip manufacturers are allowed to fold.

The anti-GM activists are using the precautionary principle. They say that no technology should be allowed until it can be proven to work by some apparatchik. Thus, all economic activity becomes political. Hence, the people who said that airplanes can't fly could've prevented the Wright brothers from going to Kitty Hawk.

What this legislation says is that anti-GM activists must prove their case first. Accusations alone are not enough to stop progress. Is this regressive behavior something which freedom loving people want to reward?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think you have not really been looking! I suggest you start with a book , "LOSE the WHEAT, LOSE the WEIGHT" by William Davis, MD. for a full indictment of GM wheat.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No. What this legislation says is that when there *is* proof that will stand up in court, we can't hold Monsanto or other like corporations responsible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Right.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't trust the anti-GM-food people not to fake evidence well enough to stand up in court. After all - look at how many decades it has taken to debunk the phony climate change data? These natural foods proponents are at least as big a bunch of crooks as are the worst of the agribusiness moguls. Not to mention the fact that they care nothing for what it costs to feed the poor.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All