‘Monsanto Protection Act’ to grant biotech industry total immunity over GM crops?

While millions of Americans were busy celebrating freedom from tyranny during the recent Independence Day festivities, Monsanto was actively trying to thwart that freedom with new attacks on health freedom. It turns out that the most evil corporation in the world has quietly attached riders to both the 2012 Farm Bill and the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that would essentially force the federal government to approve GMOs at the request of biotechnology companies, and prohibit all safety reviews of GMOs from having any real impact on the GMO approval process.
The Alliance for Natural Health – USA (ANH-USA), the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), and several other health freedom advocacy groups have been actively drawing attention to these stealth attacks in recent days, and urging Americans to rise up and oppose them now before it is too late. If we fail to act now as a single, unified community devoted to health freedom, in other words, America’s agricultural future could literally end up being controlled entirely by the biotech industry, which will have full immunity from the law.
You can fight back now against these threats to food freedom by visiting: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_25711.cfm

Full exemption from the law for the biotech industry

Authored by Congressmen and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Related Agencies Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill rider, known as the “farmer assurance provision” (Section 733), specifically outlines that the Secretary of Agriculture will be required, upon request, to “immediately” grant temporary approval or deregulation of a GM crop, even if that crop’s safety is in question or under review.
In other words, if the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is strong-armed into approving a new GM crop that is later legally challenged in court (which is basically what happened for GM sugar beets and GM alfalfa), the Secretary of Agriculture, under the provisions of the Kingston rider, will be required to approve the cultivation and sale of that crop anyway, even if a higher court has already ordered a moratorium on that crop.
“A so-called ‘Monsanto rider,’ quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, would require — not just allow, but require — the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is completed,” wrote Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins in a recent piece for AlterNet.
“All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do is ask, and the questionable crops could be released into the environment where they could potentially contaminate conventional or organic crops and, ultimately, the nation’s food supply.”
You can read the rider for yourself, which begins on page 86, Sec. 733 of the following document: http://appropriations.house.gov

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Or.) introduces amendment to kill ‘Monsanto Protection Act’

According to the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations website, the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, with the Kingston rider, was already approved by the committee on June 19. (http://appropriations.house.gov) But it will move next to the House floor, where debate and further amendment proposals will take place — this means there is still time to fight it.
One amendment being proposed by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Or.) seeks to altogether eliminate the Kingston rider, which has now been dubbed by the health freedom community as the Monsanto Protection Act, from the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. You can urge your Congressmen to support Rep. DeFazio’s amendment to kill the Monsanto Protection Act by emailing (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_25711.cfm) or calling (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_25778.cfm) them.

Committee Farm Bill riders would destroy safeguards that protect farmers, environment from untested GMOs

Another serious food freedom threat exists in the House Agriculture Committee’s discussion draft of the contentious 2012 Farm Bill, where Monsanto et al. have inserted key language, via corrupt legislators of course, that will dismantle existing federal law as it pertains to regulating GM crops, and replace it with a free-for-all system where biotech giants are basically free to grow and market whatever GMOs they please without resistance or legal challenge.
“Deliberately buried in the House Agriculture Committee’s voluminous discussion draft of the 2012 Farm Bill, these significant changes to the Plant Protection Act (PPA) — one of the few statutes that regulate GE crops — will counter the gains that have been made to protect our food supply and the farmers who grow it,” writes Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety (CFS), one of the key groups fighting back against this Monsanto sneak attack.
“The provisions (Sections 10011, 10013 and 10014) would force the rushed commercialization of GE crops, create a backdoor approval for Dow’s ‘Agent Orange’ corn and eliminate any meaningful review of the impacts of these novel crops” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com).
These provisions would explicitly outlaw any review of the environmental or human impacts of GM crops under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or any other environmental laws as well. Only the USDA would be allowed to review the safety of GM crops, and this review process would be so severely neutered that the USDA would essentially operate as a formal “rubber stamp” for approving the biotech industry’s offerings.
Both sets of riders threaten to eliminate every remaining semblance of regulatory power that “We the People” have over our own food system. If passed, these riders will abolish virtually all remaining protections over the American food supply, and allow Monsanto and the rest of Big Ag to completely control what is grown, and how it is grown.
There is still time to fight back against these heinous threats to food freedom, but swift action is necessary to stop Congress from hammering the last few nails into the coffin of American food freedom.
Be sure to contact your Congressmen right now and demand their support for Rep. Peter DeFazio’s amendment to eliminate the Monsanto rider from the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, as well as their opposition to Sections 10011, 10013 and 10014 of the 2012 Farm Bill: (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_25711.cfm)

2012 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Stattistics

2012

World Hunger and Pbabaoverty Facts and Statistics

Hungeris a term which has three meanings (Oxford English Dictionary 1971)

> the uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also the exhausted condition caused by want of food.

> the want or scarcity of food in a country

> a strong desire or craving

World hunger refers to the second definition, aggregated to the world level. The related technical term (in this case operationalized in medicine) is malnutrition.1

Malnutrition is a general term that indicates a lack of some or all nutritional elements necessary for human health (Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia).

There are two basic types of malnutrition. The first and most important is protein-energy malnutrition–the lack of enough protein (from meat and other sources) and food that provides energy (measured in calories) which all of the basic food groups provide. This is the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed. The second type of malnutrition, also very important, is micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiency. This is not the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed, though it is certainly very important.

[Recently there has also been a move to include obesity as a third form of malnutrition. Considering obesity as malnutrition expands the previous usual meaning of the term which referred to poor nutrition due to lack of food inputs. It is poor nutrition, but it is certainly not typically due to a lack of calories, but rather too many (although poor food choices, often due to poverty, are part of the problem). Obesity will not be considered here, although obesity is certainly a health problem and is increasingly considered as a type of malnutrition.]

Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is the most lethal form of malnutrition/hunger. It is basically a lack of calories and protein. Food is converted into energy by humans, and the energy contained in food is measured by calories. Protein is necessary for key body functions including provision of essential amino acids and development and maintenance of muscles.

The FAO estimate is based on statistical aggregates. The FAO first estimates the total food supply of a country and derives the average per capita daily food intake from that. The distribution of average food intake for people in the country is then estimated from surveys measuring food expenditure. Using this information, and minimum food energy requirements, FAO estimates how many people are likely to receive such a low level of food intake that they are undernourished.3

Undernutrition is a relatively new concept, but is increasingly used. It should be taken as similar to malnutrition. (It should be said as an aside, that the idea of undernourishment, its relationship to malnutrition, and the reasons for its emergence as a concept is not clear to Hunger Notes.)

Children are the most visible victims of undernutrition. Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year–five million deaths. Undernutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria. The estimated proportions of deaths in which undernutrition is an underlying cause are roughly similar for diarrhea (61%), malaria (57%), pneumonia (52%), and measles (45%) (Black 2003, Bryce 2005). Malnutrition can also be caused by diseases, such as the diseases that cause diarrhea, by reducing the body’s ability to convert food into usable nutrients.

According to the most recent estimate that Hunger Notes could find, malnutrition, as measured by stunting, affects 32.5 percent of children in developing countries–one of three (de Onis 2000). Geographically, more than 70 percent of malnourished children live in Asia, 26 percent in Africa and 4 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean. In many cases, their plight began even before birth with a malnourished mother. Under-nutrition among pregnant women in developing countries leads to 1 out of 6 infants born with low birth weight. This is not only a risk factor for neonatal deaths, but also causes learning disabilities, mental, retardation, poor health, blindness and premature death.

The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day according to the most recent estimate that we could find.(FAO 2002, p.9). The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.

What are the causes of hunger is a fundamental question, with varied answers.

Poverty is the principal cause of hunger. The causes of poverty include poor people’s lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself. As of 2008 (2005 statistics), the World Bank has estimated that there were an estimated 1,345 million poor people in developing countries who live on $1.25 a day or less.3This compares to the later FAO estimate of 1.02 billion undernourished people. Extreme poverty remains an alarming problem in the world’s developing regions, despite some progress that reduced “dollar–now $1.25– a day” poverty from (an estimated) 1900 million people in 1981, a reduction of 29 percent over the period. Progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia, and especially, East Asia, with the major improvement occurring in China. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people in extreme poverty has increased. The statement that ‘poverty is the principal cause of hunger’ is, though correct, unsatisfying. Why then are (so many) people poor? The next section summarizes Hunger Notes answer.

Harmful economic systems are the principal cause of poverty and hunger. Hunger Notes believes that the principal underlying cause of poverty and hunger is the ordinary operation of the economic and political systems in the world. Essentially control over resources and income is based on military, political and economic power that typically ends up in the hands of a minority, who live well, while those at the bottom barely survive, if they do. We have described the operation of this system in more detail in our special section on Harmful economic systems.

Conflict as a cause of hunger and poverty.At the end of 2005, the global number of refugees was at its lowest level in almost a quarter of a century. Despite some large-scale repatriation movements, the last three years have witnessed a significant increase in refugee numbers, due primarily to the violence taking place in Iraq and Somalia. By the end of 2008, the total number of refugees under UNHCR’s mandate exceeded 10 million. The number of conflict-induced internally displaced persons (IDPs) reached some 26 million worldwide at the end of the year . Providing exact figures on the number of stateless people is extremely difficult But, important, (relatively) visible though it is, and anguishing for those involved conflict is less important as poverty (and its causes) as a cause of hunger. (Using the statistics above 1.02 billion people suffer from chronic hunger while 36 million people are displaced [UNHCR 2008])

Hunger is also a cause of poverty, and thus of hunger. By causing poor health, low levels of energy, and even mental impairment, hunger can lead to even greater poverty by reducing people’s ability to work and learn, thus leading to even greater hunger.

Climate change Climate change is increasingly viewed as a current and future cause of hunger and poverty. Increasing drought, flooding, and changing climatic patterns requiring a shift in crops and farming practices that may not be easily accomplished are three key issues. See the Hunger Notes special report: Hunger, the environment, and climate change for further information, especially articles in the section: Climate change, global warming and the effect on poor people such as Global warming causes 300,000 deaths a year, study saysand Could food shortages bring down civilization?

The target set at the 1996 World Food Summit was to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015 from their number in 1990-92. (FAO uses three year averages in its calculation of undernourished people.) The (estimated) number of undernourished people in developing countries was 824 million in 1990-92. In 2010, the number had climbed to 925 million people. The WFS goal is a global goal adopted by the nations of the world; the present outcome indicates how marginal the efforts were in face of the real need.

So, overall, the world is not making progress toward the world food summit goal, although there has been progress in Asia, and in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Quite a few trace elements or micronutrients–vitamins and minerals–are important for health. 1 out of 3 people in developing countries are affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies, according to the World Health Organization. Three, perhaps the most important in terms of health consequences for poor people in developing countries, are:

Vitamin A Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness and reduces the body’s resistance to disease. In children Vitamin A deficiency can also cause growth retardation. Between 100 and 140 million children are vitamin A deficient. An estimated 250,000 to 500 000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight. (World Health Organization)

Iron Iron deficiency is a principal cause of anemia. Two billion people—over 30 percent of the world’s population—are anemic, mainly due to iron deficiency, and, in developing countries, frequently exacerbated by malaria and worm infections. For children, health consequences include premature birth, low birth weight, infections, and elevated risk of death. Later, physical and cognitive development are impaired, resulting in lowered school performance. For pregnant women, anemia contributes to 20 percent of all maternal deaths (World Health Organization).

Iodine Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) jeopardize children´s mental health– often their very lives. Serious iodine deficiency during pregnancy may result in stillbirths, abortions and congenital abnormalities such as cretinism, a grave, irreversible form of mental retardation that affects people living in iodine-deficient areas of Africa and Asia. IDD also causes mental impairment that lowers intellectual prowess at home, at school, and at work. IDD affects over 740 million people, 13 percent of the world’s population. Fifty million people have some degree of mental impairment caused by IDD (World Health Organization).