Health News
Monsanto Protection Act – What Now? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Wednesday, June 05, 2013

When we announced in April that the spending bill (HR 933), which allowed the federal government to continue through the end of the year,  contained a rider affectionately called the Monsanto Protection Act, I was a bit stymied. Blurry eyed. Lost.

Some people were saying that all Monsanto needs is six months to start foiling our planet. Not long after our email about the Act, someone called our office and asked “now what?” Usually we offer calls to action, things to do to right the wrong, but not this time, she said. She was right. I was still flat-footed, I was still in mourning.

The Monsanto Protection Act is a rider that, for the six months it is in effect, if a federal court were to strike down a USDA approval of a genetically modified crop and place an injunction against the planting of that crop, the USDA “shall immediately” approve permits for planting or offer a partial deregulation. In other words, it eliminates the judicial part of our government. The checks-and-balances are destroyed with this provision.

It’s a terrible provision that challenges how we set up our government.  And the fed­eral courts have struck down a num­ber of genet­i­cally engi­neered crop approvals by the USDA as unlaw­ful, so for 6 months, we are exposed. However, Colin O’Neil, Director of Government Affairs for the Center for Food Safety has said that “In theory, there are still a couple of other crops that could be approved during this window of time, but we may or may not see this rider triggered. It only takes into account the USDA approval of a crop, the challenge to that approval, and then the court striking down that approval. So, we may or may not see this ever happen or the rider used.”

But what do we do? What now?
First, the way #1 to stay away from the effects of GMOs is to buy organic. Federal regulations state that no GMOs can be used in foods with the USDA Certified Organic Label. So, if you’re concerned about GMO’s, and you should, you should be buying organic as often as you can.

Second, stay away from processed foods, of which 70% is made of GMO corn or some other GMO.
Why stay away from GMO’s? I’m glad you asked. That’s part of the unfortunate nature of Monsanto  - the only way you can obtain their seeds (for studies) is to be a farmer of theirs. And when you sign on to Monsanto, you literally sign away your ability to offer your seeds for experiments. Only Monsanto can do tests on Monsanto seeds, which presents a problem. The famous French study out last year was the first independent study of Monsanto’s seeds, with devastating results. there was a 600 percent increase—or six times more deaths—compared to the control group that was not exposed to GMOs.  Here’s an article we did on that study – please share it with your friends:

It is amazing that GMOs are part of our food supply when they have not been independently tested. It’s an absolute crime, frankly. And we can’t expect a company that created Agent Orange and lied to the government about the effects of Agent Orange on our troops to be truthful anytime soon.

So, getting back to the original question, now what? Be Vigilant! Monsanto only wins if we give up! There are several good soldiers on our side in the Senate who are introducing legislation. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) created an amendment to support mandatory GMO labeling (#1025) as well as her amendment asking the FDA and USDA study the 64 countries that now require GMO labeling (#1026). 

And Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) created an amendment (#978) to repeal the "Monsanto Protection Act".

The Farm bill will be reviewed by both the Senate and the House this month, and “better safe than sorry” is the attitude I’d have here – we really can’t allow our Senators to go on unmonitored, in my opinion, because when they are left on their own, things like the Monsanto Protection Act come about.

So, there are two organizations that I’d encourage you to become familiar with. They are Food Democracy Now and the Center for Food Safety. Both have petitions that I’d encourage you to sign up with.

Food Democracy Now has a petition to repeal Monsanto Protection Act:

Also, the Center for Food Safety has their petition here:

And, don’t give up on this! We’ll need to keep our eye on Monsanto. I and many others believe we have reached a tipping point. What occurred a few weeks ago, with over 2 million protestors against Monsanto in more than 50 countries, shows that the Anti-GMO Movement has arrived.

And Monsanto’s reach may be wide, but it’s still patchy and, thankfully, not complete. According to O’Neil, “For the past half dozen years, reports from the Government Accountability Office, the Inspector General within the USDA, the National Academy of Sciences, as well as fed­eral courts have sharply criticized USDA approvals of genet­i­cally engi­neered crops for fail­ing to ade­quately review their envi­ron­men­tal impacts,” O’Neil is also quoted as saying that the “courts also crit­i­cize their lack of review of the eco­nomic impacts—namely the cross-contamination of organic or conventional crops through pollen drift or seed dis­per­sal.”

So, Monsanto is not indestructible. We can, and must, win this one. Keep buying organic, keep in touch with these two organizations, and keep your voice heard!

SOURCE: Behind the Monsonto Protection Act
The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 for 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Monday, April 29, 2013

Dirty Dozen 2013
For the ninth year in a row, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit advocacy group, has just released their 2013 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. This handy guide lists the fruits and veggies with the most and least pesticides, so you know which are the most important to eat organic and which are OK to eat even when conventionally grown.
Millenialls Losing Interest in Golden Arches PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Tuesday, April 02, 2013



According to Advertising Age, a recent internal memo popped up stating that McDonalds has failed to reach the top 10 restaurant chains for "millennials” or 19-to 30-year-olds.

Millenialls are looking for healthier alternatives and more sustainable solutions. They place a great deal of value on things like social responsibility, local, sustainability, organic, grass-fed and hormone-free offerings when they dine out. Yes, McDonalds added salads to their menu some time ago. However, the fact that its Caesar Salad possesses more fattening than their burgers doesn’t help their cause.

Dan Schawabel, managing partner of Millennial Branding, a consulting firm shared with TakePart “"I think back to Fast Food Nation, which was very popular among millennials. They're looking for sustainability. They want their food to be better grown, and when you see McDonald's putting [artificial flavors] in their food, those things aren't helping build trust."

So, according to Ad Age, they are about to embark on a major food change- the new McWrap, and as Ad Age reports:

Referred to in the memo as a "Subway buster," the McWrap "affords us the platform for customization and variety that our millennial customer is expecting of us." The McWrap comes grilled or crispy in three varieties—sweet chili chicken, chicken and bacon, and chicken and ranch—and will range from 360 to 600 calories, depending in part on the type of chicken.

Said the memo: "Our customers are consistently telling us, particularly millennials, they expect variety, more choices, customization and their ability to be able to personalize their food experience."

The last time I have been in a McDonalds it was to pee. In fact, that’s pretty well it’s status in our household as the “Great American Pee-House” as we travel across the country. I say “hooray” for the millennials, and look forward to seeing more from this group in the future.

Obama Signs Monsanto Protection Act PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Tuesday, April 02, 2013



President Barack Obama signed a spending bill into law last week, (HR 933), that allowed the federal government to continue through the end of the year – and, unfortunately, it includes a rider that has been called the “Monsanto Protection Act.”  

The Monsanto Protection Act keeps federal courts from being allowed to halt the sale or planting of genetically modified (or genetically engineered) seeds, no matter what health issues prove to be a result of GMO’s in the future.

The Farmer Assurance Provision, Section 735 of the bill, includes language that has many citizens outraged.  A Republican of Missouri, Sen. Roy Blunt, worked with Monsanto on this provision, ignoring the thousands of people who made their distain heard.  Obama, too, needs to be held responsible for ignoring the protestors outside the White House- the organic farmers, consumer advocates, and everyday heroes whom many supported Obama to get re-elected.

Food Democracy Now collected more than 250,000 signatures on a petition calling for the president to veto the CR, argue that not enough studies have been conducted into the possible health risks of GMO and GE seeds. Eliminating judicial power to halt the selling or planting of them essentially cuts off their course to ensuring consumer safety should health risks emerge. But to no avail, the Monsanto Protection Act is in affect for 6 months. Some have said that is all they need, because they can replant versions of the original seed year after year now without legal ramifications.

For those that supported Obama are very disappointed because Obama made a campaign promise in 2007 to have GMO’s be labeled (hasn’t happened) and to have a transparent government where this type of activity doesn’t happen.

Click here or the image above for an AOL video about this decision.

What Now?
This is all pretty distressing information. What does one do now? We buy organic. We buy local hopefully from a farmer you get to know at the Farmers Market in your town. You are very aware of what is a known GMO and what is not. Below is a handy chart for you:




Vermont Getting Close to Mandatory Labeling of GMO’s PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael McCaffrey   
Monday, March 04, 2013



The State of Vermont is getting closer to becoming the first state to put mandatory labels on genetically modified food products.gmoimage

On Friday March 1, 2013, the House Agriculture Committee, after a great deal of testimony, passed H.112, or the “GMO labeling bill,” by an 8-3 vote.

The bill requires food producers to put labels on raw agricultural and processed, packaged food products that are genetically engineered. The bill will go to the House Judiciary Committee for review, then to the floor for a vote.

Rep. Will Stevens, I-Shoreham, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, said “It’s a consumer bill. It lets people have information that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”

Here’s the link to a local article from The Addison County Independent in Vermont.
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