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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Stop the EU undemocratic ways of GM corn approval

Most EU citizens don’t want the GM (genetic modified) corn, but the European Commission (EC) and a few bigger states' politicians do, following some bizarre procedure called "comitology" and a German abstention, the EC power is forcing a genetically engineered maize into Europe’s agriculture.

Despite 19 of the EU’s 28 members voted against, the pro-GM Tonio Borg (European Commissioner for Health), claims that under a procedure known as "comitology", the EC shall approve the maize. (The content of this link has completed been changed in a very short time, indicating EC government employees working full-time to alter the contents of wikipedia and don't like people to know what is comitology, initially the link is, it explains just the EC committee's strange and undemocratic ways of passing laws, without mentioning maize approval at all, but the initial text has disappeared in no time)

“If there is no negative qualified majority against the proposal then the Commission not may, but shall, adopt the proposal,” said Tonio Borg.  Read

UK, Spain. Finland, Estonia and Sweden voted in favour, while Belgium, Portugal and the Czech Republic abstained.  But the critical abstention was the big vote carrying Germany.  For some unknown reason, each vote did not carry the same weight, which cleared the way for the approval.

Read more details from

If 19 out of 28 is not a majority, I don't know what is?!

The European Parliament has long had a problem with the lack of transparency of comitology committees, stemming mainly from the fact that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are excluded from the comitology process. A broader concern has been voiced about the public accountability of comitology.  As sites of European governance which produce a vast amount of binding legislation, comitology's opaque mode of operation, unclear membership, and closed debate style has been the subject of criticism from academics for years.

When the majority of EU citizens don't want it, but the greed of those GM corporations is winning each battle, what's the use of going to the poll to vote for our EU parliament members if the EC can find some loopholes and impose regulations against citizens' wish?  Democracy is dead in Europe! 

We need a EU referendum on GM seeds if politicians only bow their heads to GM giants against people's will.

Health is a universal issue, if you are not a citizen of EU (say if you live in my home country, Taiwan), you should still read on because Taiwan often bases its regulations and testing standards on US.

The US has the revolving door problem i.e. former GM industry employees taking up FDA (Food and Drug Adm) posts to serve the commercial interests of the GM corporations instead of regulating to safeguard public health.  Click the first red section titled "Monsanto's Government Ties" on opening the link below

EU should block its revolving door problem because too many EU officials were former lobbyists and will work again in lobbying once they finish their terms in the public sector.  Over half of the 209 scientists sitting on the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) agency's panels have direct or indirect ties with the industries they are meant to regulate.

Proposal that individual EU country can ban GM crop is just a trap

"A new strategy on GM issues" - a report by the Brussels biotech lobby group EuropaBio (the name sounds like pro-organic but it is actually a pro-GM lobbying firm) concluded that a new approach is needed to break the standstill on GM crops in Europe. This includes an "amended nationalisation proposal" putting as a condition that member states can only apply for a national ban if they have first asked the company to refrain from marketing the GM crop in their country, and if the company has refused.  Read Biotech lobby's fingerprints over new EU proposal to allow national GMO bans

Wind, birds, honey bees can carry GM seeds and cross-pollinate with natural seeds, thereby destroying the existing export credential of farmers who grow conventional seeds and always work hard to remove weeds without chemical sprays.  Wind, birds, and bees travel regardless of national borders, so if one country in EU says yes to GM seed, the neighboring country will be contaminated soon despite saying no.  Besides, with the entrance of GM seeds, more pesticide will be sprayed in European farms.

Unless the no-to-GM countries can seek monetary compensation for the contamination of GM seeds and of pesticide into their fields from those countries that say yes-to-GM, otherwise, it will be unfair to the majority of countries that had voted no.

Some US conventional seed farmers have experienced rejects by importing countries because their products have been tested to be GM contaminated, losing their exporting potential, and increasing their costs of pre-exporting analytical tests to ensure products are free from GM contamination, the US conventional farmers are in courts fighting for their rights against the GM industry.  Example, Japan Rejects Import Of U.S. Wheat: Polluted With GMOs and Organic Farmers vs. Monsanto: Final Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Crops from GMO Contamination
Chronology of the US conventional farmers' wars against Monsanto

Allowing the initial testing of GM seeds to grow outside of a controlled environment (and all the time in undisclosed secret locations), allowing GM seed patenting - thus enabling GM corporations to control seeds and expand quickly to monopolize the seed markets (replacing conventional seeds with GM seeds leaving US farmers without a choice) while not carrying out independent longer-term studies of health effects of eating GM food, plus purposely disallowing clear food labeling (in favor of GM industry and against consumers' wish) are the biggest mistakes of the US authorities.

Although (most of) Europe does not grow GM corns, Spain does, and many animals are fed with imported GM corns too.  I checked the Corn Flakes box and it is produced in Spain, so I will stop buying it as I don't have confidence that I am feeding my children healthy food.  I also prefer local meat products.

The GM seeds have already contaminated the soil of farmers who grow conventional seeds around the globe (but mostly in US), in US 90% of corns are genetically modified, but recently their corns got sick easily, they started to realize the importance of seed diversity.

"No one is certain why Goss’s wilt has become so rampant in recent years. But many plant pathologists suspect that the biggest factor is the hybrids chosen for genetic modification by major seed companies like Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta."

"My theory is that there were a couple of hybrids planted that were selected because they had extremely high yield potentials," said Dr. Robertson, whose research is financed by Monsanto and the Agriculture Department.

"They also may have been highly susceptible to Goss’s wilt."

Read the entire article Is Lack of Genetic Diversity and Crop Diversity Accelerating a New Epidemic in Corn

With the US devastated by the recent corn disease, if the EU follows the same path and has the similar problem in future, that will be the beginning of the worldwide shortage of food and animal feed crisis.

Ecological farming is the better way to farm while keeping our environment free from toxic chemicals.  Read one example of eco farming in Vietnam

What are the GM corns?

They are corn varieties resistant to glyphosate herbicides and the first variety was commercialized in 1996 by Monsanto, known as MON 810 - Roundup Ready Corn.

Roundup (glyphosate) is a weedkiller sold by Monsanto, by using the Roundup Ready Corn (MON 810), farmers can spray the entire field using Roundup to kill the weed but not the corn.  Since the MON 810 corn is genetically modified to resist Roundup, farmers spray pesticide when weeds come out while the corns adjacent to weeds are "eating" just as much pesticide.  This way, Monsanto has profited from selling both the Roundup weedkiller and the patented GM MON 810 corn seed.

Often the food and drug regulatory authorities approve new products base only on the (misleading) info provided by the GM industry without other independent studies by research groups unrelated to or not sponsored by the GM companies.

An independent study by the Séralini research team found that beyond 90 days of consuming the GM corn, rats have developed tumors.

Unfortunately not just democracy is dead in EU, scientific advancement and academic freedom are hindered by GM industry's greed.

In May 2013, six months after the Séralini study release, Elsevier (note: the publisher for FCT, Food and Chemical Toxicology) announced that it had created a new position, “Associate Editor for Biotechnology.” The person they hired to fill it was Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto employee who in addition was with the Monsanto pro-GMO lobby organization, the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) which develops industry-friendly risk assessment methods for GM foods and chemical food contaminants and inserts them into government regulations.

As one critical scientific website posed the obvious ethical sham of hiring Monsanto people to control GMO publications, “Does Monsanto now effectively decide which papers on biotechnology are published in FCT? And is this part of an attempt by Monsanto and the life science industry to seize control of science?"

Then on November 24, 2013, six months after Goodman took control of GMO issues at the Journal, Dr A. Wallace Hayes, the editor of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology decided to retract the study by the team of Professor Séralini. (threatened to lose his job?)

Read details of Séralini research and retraction of publication controversy

Séralini’s team studied the effect of a Monsanto GMO maize diet on the rats for much longer than Monsanto had in their study submitted to the EU European Food Safety Authority for approval. They did their study for the full two year average life-time instead of just 90 days in the Monsanto study. The long time span proved critical. The first tumors only appeared 4 to 7 months into the study. In industry’s earlier 90-day study on the same GMO maize Monsanto NK603, signs of toxicity were seen, but were dismissed as “not biologically meaningful” by industry and EFSA alike.  More details about the experiment and the corrupted EFSA officials see this

Monsanto’s analysis compared unrelated feeding groups, muddying the results. The June 2009 rebuttal explains, "In order to isolate the effect of the GM transformation process from other variables, it is only valid to compare the GMO…with its isogenic non-GM equivalent."

The (Séralini) researchers conclude from all three GMO studies that novel pesticide residues will be present in food and feed and may pose grave health risks to those consuming them. They have called for "an immediate ban on the import and cultivation of these GMOs and strongly recommend additional long-term (up to two years) and multi-generational animal feeding studies on at least three species to provide true scientifically valid data on the acute and chronic toxic effects of GM crops, feed and foods."  Read Three Approved GMOs Linked to Organ Damage by Rady Ananda

Not only eating the GM corn may cause health problem, the Roundup weedkiller was a health risk - used in gardens, farms, and parks around the world, Roundup contains an ingredient that can suffocate human cells in a laboratory, researchers say on Jun 23, 2009. Read Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells

A Canadian study shows GM DNA can cross the placental barrier. They said it would never happen.

Real scientific research should be one that quest for new knowledge, not one that covers up negative findings to serve the commercial interests of a special group.

The FDA researchers were fired, threatened, or relocated to other jobs when they wanted to do their job right.

The example below is related to the testing of milk safety with cows being injected with artificial hormone:

Veterinarian Richard Burroughs, who had a lead role in the review process, was shocked at how few tests the agency was requiring. Burroughs ordered more tests, but was soon fired. He said, “I was told that I was slowing down the approval process.”  Burroughs says that the science in the studies was well outside the expertise of FDA employees, but officials “suppressed and manipulated data to cover up their own ignorance and incompetence.”  Alexander Apostolou, director of the FDA's Division of Toxicology, says, “Sound scientific procedures for evaluating human food safety of veterinary drugs have been disregarded.” When he expressed his concerns at the agency, he was pressured to leave.”  Chemist Joseph Settepani testified at a public hearing about “a systematic human food-safety breakdown at the Center for Veterinary Medicine.” Prior to his testimony, he was in charge of quality control for veterinary drug approvals. Soon after, he was stripped of his duties as a supervisor and sent to work in a trailer at an experimental farm.

GM industry tried to bribe Canadian researchers into approval

While Monsanto's tactics have been fairly effective in the United States, they have tried equally hard north of the border. In 1998, six Canadian government scientists testified that they were being pressured by superiors to approve rbGH. The six were employed by Health Canada — the Canadian equivalent of the US FDA. Their job was to determine if the milk from treated cows was safe to drink. They didn't think so. In fact, they had compiled a detailed critique of the FDA's evaluation of rbGH, showing that the US approval process was flawed and superficial. However, senior Canadian officials and Monsanto tried to force the Canadians to approve it anyway.

According to the Toronto Globe and Mail (note: The Globe and Mail is a national paper circulated in Canada not just a Toronto local paper), “The scientists' testimony before a Senate committee was like a scene from the conspiratorial television show 'The X-Files.'” They told the senators that government scientists “often feel that their careers are threatened if they stand in the way of a drug they don't believe is safe,” and “managers without scientific experience regularly overrule their decisions.”
Dr. Margaret Haydon said that when she refused to approve rbGH due to her concerns for human health, she was taken off the study. The Ottawa Citizen reported that Haydon “recounted how notes and files critical of scientific data provided by Monsanto were stolen from a locked filing cabinet in her office,” and that she “told of being in a meeting when officials from Monsanto...made an offer of between $1 million and $2 million to the scientists from Health Canada — an offer that she told the senators could only have been interpreted as a bribe.”  Read details from A Short History of Genetically Engineered Bovine Growth Hormone by Jeffrey Smith

What European parliament needs to do without delay is to start an investigation into the corrupted EC officials and to stop the revolving door - enact a law that will effectively prohibit conflict of interest appointments.

And the UN should enact clear food labeling law for world trade, and prohibit seed patenting as it is against the nature.  Besides, GM seeds should not be allowed to contaminate the crops of disadvantaged nations by means of so called "foreign aids" because of disaster or famine, receiving ends should have a choice - advised if the "aids" contain GM crops.

A clear labeling law means for processed food the label should include ingredients' percentage followed by the country code, followed by a GM indicator.  If for a specific ingredient, it has a mixture coming from 2 different countries, immediate following the ingredient percentage, the first country code be written for the major supplier of the ingredient and the second country code followed since it is the secondary supplier, all ingredients must be clearly labeled with a GM indicator.

After all, if the GM food is so great as promoted by the GM industry, why it isn't in the menu at the cafeteria of Monsanto's facility?
Read Monsanto' canteen in UK does not serve GM food

The GM food should not just stop at the EU border, it should be wiped out from our globe regardless of border.  We should start to revert back to green revolution, repecting the natural ecological system.

Related links:

You must read this: Continuing the Green Revolution:
The corporate assault on the security of the global food supply

Who grows what in GM seeds
or another good source at the GM approval data base from the organization servicing the interests of the GM corporations

Revealed how seed market is controlled by Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow & DuPont

The video of the Séralini research team from the left-side of this page

Scientists' hidden links to the GM food giants: Disturbing truth behind official report that said UK should forge on with Frankenfoods

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