Food Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Food Corruption News Articles in Media
The French researcher who caused a scientific storm when he claimed to show that some GM food led to tumours and cancers in rats has accused the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) of "recklessly endangering public health" by not demanding long-term testing of the foods. In a series of parliamentary and public meetings held this week in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini has challenged UK politicians and safety authorities to review the way safety is assessed. Séralini, a molecular biologist at Caen University, said: "Our research found severe toxicity from GM maize and [Monsanto pesticide] Roundup. The British Food Standards Agency has uncritically accepted the European Food Safety Authority's dismissal of the study, even though many of EFSA's experts have been exposed as having conflicts of interest with the GM industry. At the very least, the British government should demand long-term mandatory safety testing on all GM foods before they are released onto the market," he said. "The British scientific authorities are deliberately misleading their government and are recklessly endangering public health in ignoring the findings of our research." Séralini's study found that rats developed much higher levels of cancers and died earlier than controls when fed a diet of Monsanto's Roundup-tolerant GM maize NK603 for two years, or were exposed to Roundup over the same period. The usual industry tests last for 90 days.
Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the highly informative summary available here.
A small organic farm in Arlington, Texas, was the target of a massive police action ... that included aerial surveillance, a SWAT raid and a 10-hour search. Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. Farm owners and residents who live on the property [said] that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. Local authorities had cited the Garden of Eden in recent weeks for code violations, including "grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house, and generally unclean premises." The raid on the Garden of Eden farm appears to be the latest example of police departments using SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics to enforce less serious crimes. In recent years, SWAT teams have been called out to perform regulatory alcohol inspections at a bar in Manassas Park, Va.; to raid bars for suspected underage drinking in New Haven, Conn.; to perform license inspections at barbershops in Orlando, Fla.; and to raid a gay bar in Atlanta where police suspected customers and employees were having public sex. A federal investigation later found that Atlanta police had made up the allegations of public sex. Other raids have been conducted on food co-ops and Amish farms suspected of selling unpasteurized milk products. The federal government has for years been conducting raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them.
Note: The author of this report, Radley Balko, is a senior writer and investigative reporter for The Huffington Post. He is also the author of the new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. For an ABC News report on this disturbing raid, click here.
Food & Water Watch ... spent months looking at the extent to which the US State Department is working on behalf of the GM seed industry to make sure that biotech crops are served up abroad whether the world wants them or not. Between 2007 and 2009, annual cables were distributed to "encourage the use of agricultural biotechnology", directing US embassies to "pursue an active biotech agenda". There was a comprehensive communications campaign aimed to "promote understanding and acceptance of the technology" ... in light of the worldwide backlash against GM crops. The State Department worked to diminish trade barriers to the benefit of seed companies, and encouraged the embassies to "publicize the benefits of agbiotech as a development tool". Monsanto was a great beneficiary of the State Department's taxpayer-funded diplomacy: the company appeared in 6.1% of the biotech cables analyzed between 2005 and 2009 from 21 countries. The cables also show extensive lobbying against in-country efforts to require labeling of GM foods. The US government is now quietly negotiating major trade deals with Europe and the countries of the Pacific Rim that would force countries to accept biotech imports, commercialize biotech crops and prevent the labeling of GM foods. The vast influence that Monsanto and the biotech seed industry have on our foreign affairs is just one tentacle of a beast comprised by a handful of huge corporations who wield enormous power over most food policy in the United States.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
A Wisconsin dairy farmer is set to go on trial for a strange offense: selling raw milk to a group of consumers who were members of a private buyer’s club. So in many parts of America, it’s basically legal to grow, sell, and smoke pot. But you can go to jail for selling people fresh milk? Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger, a 41-year-old father of ten, will go on trial later this month. Hershberger started a private buyer’s club for raw milk in 2003 after “some friends from town—who were retired farmers—wanted to continue getting this raw milk that they had for years. By word of mouth ... it grew from there.” By the time of his arrest in 2010, over 100 families were members. Technically, these club members were not customers of the farm, but partners: they legally leased animals from Hershberger, and in return for his family boarding and caring for their cattle on his 157 acres of farmland, they paid certain agreed-upon fees each time they came to pick up the products of those cattle—namely, raw milk. So Hershberger felt he didn’t need a license as a retail food establishment, because there was no retail going on; the milk already belonged to the club members. Hershberger grew up milking cows by hand on a small Amish dairy farm, and this hold order violated his religious values: though no longer Amish, he’s a non-denominational Christian, and opposes waste.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Last week, the European Commission voted to place a two-year moratorium on most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides, on the suspicion that they're contributing to the global crisis in honeybee health. Might [that] inspire the US Environmental Protection Agency to make a similar move? The answer is no. The EU move will have no bearing on the EPA's own reviews of the pesticides, which aren't scheduled for release until 2016 at the earliest. Other food-related substances and practices that are banned in Europe [are] green-lighted [in the US]. 1. Atrazine: A "potent endocrine disruptor," Syngenta's popular corn herbicide has been linked to a range of reproductive problems at extremely low doses in both amphibians and humans, and it commonly leaches out of farm fields and into people's drinking water. What Europe did: Banned it in 2003. US status: EPA: "Atrazine will begin registration review, EPA's periodic reevaluation program for existing pesticides, in mid-2013." 2. Arsenic in chicken, turkey, and pig feed. 3. "Poultry litter" in cow feed. 4. Chlorine washes for poultry carcasses. 5. Antibiotics as growth promoters on livestock farms. 6. Ractopomine and other pharmaceutical growth enhancers in animal feed. 7. Gestation crates.
Note: For each numbered substance or practice, this article indicates the action taken by the EU and the inaction by the US government. For an article that gives more information on all of this and two additional banned practices, click here.
Can food be free, fresh and easily accessible? That’s the bold question that the city of Seattle is hoping to answer with a new experimental farm not far from the city’s downtown that will have fruits and vegetables for anyone to harvest this fall. On Beacon Hill, just south of central Seattle, landscape developers and a few affordable-food advocates are building an edible food forest. Everything grown in the area, from the tree canopies to the roots, will be edible. And it’ll be open around the clock to anyone who wants to come and pick some fresh blueberries or pears. In its first phase, the farm will be 1.5 acres. But if it’s successful, the public land it’ll sit on—currently owned by Seattle Public Utilities—will be able to accommodate 5.5 more acres of growth. One thing that’s striking about the idea (other than the idea in itself to have essentially a public farm that anyone can use—or abuse) is how the [crop] selection came together. Many are expected: apples, berries, row vegetables like lettuce or tomatoes. But others are pretty far out. A large Asian community in the area suggested things like Asian pears and honeyberries. A European influence led to the planting of medlar trees. The concept is modeled on permaculture, a design system and school of thought aimed at returning some land to its own devices. Offering people free, fresh food is one motivation, but making the land useful and ecologically enriched is the larger goal.
On one covert video, farm workers illegally burn the ankles of Tennessee walking horses with chemicals. Another captures workers in Wyoming punching and kicking pigs and flinging piglets into the air. And at one of the country’s largest egg suppliers, a video shows hens caged alongside rotting bird corpses, while workers burn and snap off the beaks of young chicks. Each video ... drew a swift response: Federal prosecutors in Tennessee charged the horse trainer and other workers, who have pleaded guilty, with violating the Horse Protection Act. Local authorities in Wyoming charged nine farm employees with cruelty to animals. And the egg supplier, which operates in Iowa and other states, lost one of its biggest customers, McDonald’s, which said the video played a part in its decision. But a dozen or so state legislatures have had a different reaction: They proposed or enacted bills that would make it illegal to covertly videotape livestock farms, or apply for a job at one without disclosing ties to animal rights groups. They have also drafted measures to require such videos to be given to the authorities almost immediately, which activists say would thwart any meaningful undercover investigation of large factory farms. Critics call them “Ag-Gag” bills. Some of the legislation appears inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business advocacy group with hundreds of state representatives from farm states as members. One of the group’s model bills, “The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act,” prohibits filming or taking pictures on livestock farms to “defame the facility or its owner.” Violators would be placed on a “terrorist registry.”
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
When Joshua Williams was 5 years old, his grandmother gave him $20 to spend on whatever he wanted. "My mom and I were in the car on the way to church, and I was thinking about all the fun things I could buy," he says. But then, while waiting at a red light, he looked out the window and saw a homeless man begging for money. Joshua leaned forward and said he wanted to give the man the $20 so he could get a meal. "I suggested that we go buy the man some food," says his mom, Claudia McLean. "But Joshua pointed out, 'What if he doesn't like what we get him?' From that moment on, he was pestering me about how we could help more people." Soon, the family began cooking meals every Saturday to distribute to the homeless. Still, says Joshua, 11, "we only had so much food, and I knew people were still hungry." In 2007, Joshua and his mom established Joshua's Heart Foundation, which has since given away 400,000 pounds of food through a variety of initiatives. But the foundation's backpack program, which discreetly issues food-filled packs to needy schoolchildren before weekends, is closest to the seventh grader's heart. "When kids don't have to worry whether they'll have dinner that night, they can concentrate better, do better in school," he says. The program benefits 50 kids in two Miami-area schools, but Joshua hopes to expand it via corporate donations (Walmart has given $20,000). The foundation now has 700 volunteers, plus a Junior Advisory Board over which he presides. "When I look at the faces of the people we're helping and see how happy they are, that's my favorite moment," he says.
Note: For an inspiring article on how Howard Buffett (son of billionaire Warren Buffett) is doing incredible work to end hunger worldwide, click here. For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here
A genetically modified cow whose milk lacks a substance that causes allergic reactions in people has been created by scientists in New Zealand. In their first year of life, two or three in every hundred infants are allergic to a whey protein in milk called BLG. The researchers engineered the cow, called Daisy, to produce milk that doesn't contain the protein. While the genetic alteration slashed levels of BLG protein in the cow's milk to undetectable levels, it more than doubled the concentrations of other milk proteins called caseins. The cow was created with the same cloning procedure that led to Dolly the sheep in 1996. Most of the differences between cow and human milk do not cause problems for people who consume it, but BLG or beta-lactoglobulin protein, which is found in milk from cows and other ruminants, is a major cause of allergic reactions. To make Daisy, scientists took a cow skin cell and genetically modified it to produce molecules that block the manufacture of BLG protein. The nucleus of this cell was then transferred into a cow egg that had its own nucleus removed. The reconstituted egg was grown in the lab until it formed what is called a blastocyst, a ball of around 100 cells, and then transplanted into the womb of a foster cow. The cloning technique is not efficient. Of around 100 blastocysts the scientists implanted into cows, more than half of the pregnancies failed early on, and only one live calf, Daisy, was born. One question the New Zealand team is working on now is why Daisy was born without a tail. The cloning process is most likely to blame for the birth defect.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), click here.
Russia's consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said ... it has suspended the import and use of genetically modified corn made by Monsanto Co. following a study's allegations that the crop causes cancer. Rospotrebnadzor said the country's Institute of Nutrition has been asked to assess the validity of the study, while the European Commission's Directorate General for Health & Consumers has also been contacted to explain the European Union's position. The study, conducted by the University of Caen in France, [found] that rats fed over a two-year period with the U.S. chemical company's genetically modified NK603 corn, developed more tumors and other severe diseases than a test group fed with regular corn. The study also [found] that rats fed with NK603 and exposed to Monsanto's Roundup weed killer suffered from more pathologies than the test group. Last week Monsanto said it did not think the French study would affect its license to export the NK603 to Europe but would wait to hear from the European Food Safety Authority, or EFSA, which has been asked by the European Commission to also look into the research.
Note: For a powerful summary of the risks to health from GMO foods, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on GMOs, click here. For a powerful 13-minute video revealing the disturbing results of the above-mentioned scientific study showing how GM corn greatly increased cancer incidence in rats, click here.
Eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States goes to chickens, pigs, cows and other animals that people eat, yet producers of meat and poultry are not required to report how they use the drugs - which ones, on what types of animal, and in what quantities. This dearth of information makes it difficult to document the precise relationship between routine antibiotic use in animals and antibiotic-resistant infections in people, scientists say. Advocates contend that there is already overwhelming epidemiological evidence linking the two, something that even the Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged, and that further study, while useful for science, is not essential for decision making. "At some point the available science can be used in making policy decisions," said Gail Hansen, an epidemiologist who works for Pew Charitable Trusts, which advocates against overuse of antibiotics. But scientists say the blank spots in data collection are a serious handicap in taking on powerful producers of poultry and meat who claim the link does not exist. "It’s like facing off against a major public health crisis with one hand tied behind our backs," said Keeve Nachman, an environmental health scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, which does research on food systems. "The single biggest problem we face in infectious disease today is the rapid growth of resistance to antibiotics," said Glenn Morris, director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. "Human use contributes to that, but use in animals clearly has a part too."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.
If Proposition 37 passes, California would become the first state in the nation to require new labels on a host of food products commonly found on grocery store shelves. Many other nations, including Japan, China and a host of European countries, already label genetically engineered food. In the United States, however, products that contain genetically engineered ingredients are generally not labeled. Proponents ... have raised $2.8 million. A company owned by Joseph Mercola, a controversial holistic health activist from Illinois with more than 100,000 Twitter followers, has kicked in $800,000. Opponents have raised nine times as much. Almost all of the nearly $25 million has come from a variety of chemical, seed and processed-food companies. Monsanto, a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds, donated $4.2 million, the largest donation. The labeling initiative largely covers processed foods. Milk, cheese and other dairy products made from cows that are injected with the bovine growth hormone or eat genetically engineered feed like alfalfa would be exempt, but meat or dairy products from animals that are genetically engineered would be labeled. In 2000, 25 percent of the corn planted in the United States was genetically engineered, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By 2012, that figure had soared to 88 percent. The group California Right to Know, which is leading the pro-labeling campaign, is counting on a vast social media network and volunteers to get its message out. Stacy Malkan, a spokeswoman for the yes campaign, said [this] "is a people's movement against out-of-state corporations."
Note: A graph in this article shows that 94% of the funds raised against Proposition 37 came from outside of California. And how interesting that Dr. Mercola is called controversial, considering that he now has nearly 2 million subscribers to his mos excellent email list. For an article titled "The Top 10 Lies Told by Monsanto on GMO Labeling in California," click here. For a great collection of past major media articles revealing the serious risks and dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
Some might call Neil Grimmer and his wife Tana Johnson picky eaters. For more than a decade, Grimmer, a triathlete, didn't eat meat or dairy while Johnson followed a macrobiotic diet, made up mostly of whole grains and vegetables. So when the couple became parents about nine years ago, they sought to feed their children healthy foods. Trouble was, they couldn't find snacks that were healthy, yet easy to pack and appealing to their kids. That's how the Nest Collective, now known as Plum Organics, was born. [The] startup makes baby food and toddler and kids' snacks such as pouches of pureed blueberry oats and quinoa for babies and squeezable oatmeal for older children. Plum Organics is also addressing increasing concerns about childhood obesity and parents looking for alternative, easy-to-pack snacks. In what turned out to be a momentous decision, the company moved away from the traditional plastic or glass jar and began offering baby food in the form of the squeezable pouch already popular with older children. The company took off from there. The benefit of the pouch is that it allows the food to be cooked more gently so that the flavors are richer, said Grimmer. The packaging also takes up less space in landfills and is easier to transport.
Seven sloping acres at the southwest edge of Jefferson Park [are] being transformed into an edible landscape and community park that will be known [as] the Beacon Food Forest, the largest of its kind in the nation. One full acre will be devoted to large chestnuts and walnuts in the overstory. There'll be full-sized fruit trees in the understory, and berry shrubs, climbing vines, herbaceous plants, and vegetables closer to the ground. The entire project will be built around the concept of permaculture -- an ecological design system, philosophy, and set of ethics and principles used to create perennial, self-sustaining landscapes. Friends of the Food Forest undertook heroic outreach efforts to secure neighborhood support. The team mailed over 6,000 postcards in five different languages, tabled at events and fairs, and posted fliers. And Seattle residents responded. The first meeting, especially, drew permaculturalists and other intrigued parties from all around the city. More than 70 people, mostly from Beacon Hill, attended the second meeting in mid-July, where proposed designs were laid out on giant sheets paper with markers strewn about so the community could scribble their ideas and feedback directly onto the plans.
Greg Peterson's 1950s tract home looks like any other house on his block in Phoenix, with one notable difference: Practically everything in his yard is edible. Mr. Peterson calls his oasis of bounty on one-third of an acre "The Urban Farm." Once an anomaly among the manicured lawns in his neighborhood, Peterson's place has been so convincing an example over the past decade that scores of other suburban dwellers have traded decorative bushes for raised vegetable beds and straw-filled chicken coops. Slowly, across the past decade, more Americans like Peterson have been proving that growing and preserving food is possible in all kinds of populated settings. Whether it is a tilapia farm in garden tubs in Kansas City, Mo., beekeeping in Chicago, or jars of homemade pickles in an apartment pantry in Austin, Texas, urban homesteaders are rebelling against the industrial food system by shouldering more of the responsibility for producing their own food. "There is a population and culture that is finally saying that all this processed stuff is not good and the only way we can guarantee that food we use is safe is to grow it ourselves," says Joyce Miles, a family and consumer science expert. These advances come in the midst of a struggling economy, a changing climate, a global food system in peril, rising food prices, concern over lax food safety, and dwindling resources. For homesteaders, cultivating a corner of the yard ... into a tangle of edible things has become one small way to regain purpose and control in an unpredictable time.
Note: Watch this inspiring video of an urban farm helping to break the cycle of violence and poverty in Kansas city.
Monsanto Co.’s insect-killing corn is toppling over in northwestern Illinois fields, a sign that rootworms outside of Iowa may have developed resistance to the genetically modified crop. Michael Gray, an agricultural entomologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana, said he’s studying whether western corn rootworms collected last month in Henry and Whiteside counties are resistant to an insect-killing protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a natural insecticide engineered into Monsanto corn. The insects were collected in two fields where corn had toppled after roots were eaten by rootworms, Gray said today. Planting Bt corn year after year increases the odds that the bugs will develop resistance to the insecticide, he said. While the symptoms parallel bug resistance that’s been confirmed in Iowa, analysis of the Illinois insects won’t be complete until next year, he said. “Whatever is the cause, it is generating a lot of concern.”
Note: For more on this, click here.
Investors are pouring into farmland in the U.S. and parts of Europe, Latin America and Africa as global food prices soar. A fund controlled by George Soros, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, owns 23.4 percent of South American farmland venture Adecoagro SA. Hedge funds Ospraie Management LLC and Passport Capital LLC as well as Harvard University's endowment are also betting on farming. TIAA-CREF, the $466 billion financial services giant, has $2 billion invested in some 600,000 acres (240,000 hectares) of farmland in Australia, Brazil and North America and wants to double the size of its investment. The growth in demand for food, spurred by the rising middle classes in China, India and other emerging markets, shows no signs of abating. Food prices in June, as measured by a United Nations index of 55 food commodities, were just slightly below their peak in February. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization said in a June report that it expects food costs to remain high through 2012. So many investors have rushed to capitalize on food prices in the past three years that they may be creating a farmland bubble. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which covers Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and other agricultural states, said in May that farmland prices had surged 20 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier.
Note: This news is further clear evidence that the rapid increases in food prices is another ploy to funnel money from the pockets of the public into the uber wealthy.
Investigations have found that every single supermarket in Britain stocks meat and dairy from animals fed GM [Genetically Modified] soy. Leading brands including Cadbury, Unilever and Dairycrest, also use products from livestock fed GM. In fact the new technology is so widespread that it is likely at least one item of food you eat today will have come from an animal fed GM soy, whether it was the milk on your cereal or the bacon in your sandwich. But what effect is our growing reliance on soy having on the countries supplying Britain with this ‘invisible ingredient’? Paraguay ... in many ways [is] the perfect place to grow unsustainable soy. Ruled by despotic dictators for centuries, the country is famous for being a hot bed of drug smugglers [and] Nazi war criminals. Even now, with a new democratically government in place, corruption is rife and regulations to protect the people are lax to say the least. In the last year the amount of land planted with soy has grown to a record 2.6 million hectares, most of which is GM, leading to claims of deforestation, violent land disputes and the ‘poisoning’ of local communities. Already it is estimated that 90 per cent of the Atlantic Rainforest in Paraguay has been lost to make way for crops, taking with it thousands of unique plants species, hundreds of rare birds and endangered animals like the jaguar. Its not just animals that suffer. Groups of Guarani people claim they have been driven from their land by the soy farmers. ‘Campesinos’, the small farmers who have traditionally worked the land, also claim they have been displaced.
Note: Many are not aware that much of the food they eat, especially soy and corn, comes from geneticaly modified crops which have been shown to pose a major risk to health. For more, click here and here.
A genetically engineered fish infused with genes from other species, including an eel-like creature, could soon be on dinner plates in the Bay Area and around the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering an application by AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Massachusetts to bioengineer a sterile salmon that would grow extremely fast and, if all goes as planned, never set so much as a fin in a natural body of water. It would be the first genetically engineered animal to be approved for human consumption. The proposal, which is awaiting an environmental assessment and a preliminary decision by the FDA, has created a furor among environmentalists, who have dubbed the species "Frankenfish." They claim the doctored salmon could spread disease in humans or circulate mutant genes in the wild if an accident or sabotage ever set them loose. "The effect of what happens if these genetically engineered fish escape is largely unknown and has been largely unquestioned by the FDA," said Colin O'Neil, the regulatory policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety, an environmental nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. "These fish have been demonstrated to be less healthy. Consumers clearly do not want to eat genetically engineered salmon."
Note: For a superb summary of the dangers posed by genetically-modified foods, click here.
The U.S. Senate yesterday approved spending $4.6 billion to settle two lawsuits: one by black farmers who alleged racial discrimination by government lenders and the other by 300,000 American Indians who said they had been cheated out of land royalties dating to 1887. Passage of the measure, by voice vote, unblocks a legislative logjam that has thwarted payouts, negotiated by the Obama administration, of $1.15 billion to the black farmers and $3.4 billion to the American Indians. The House ... must vote on the settlements again. At least seven times this year, Senate Republicans blocked efforts to include the spending provisions in pending legislation. The farmers’ 1997 class-action lawsuit alleged discrimination by the Agriculture Department’s lending programs. Under a negotiated settlement announced in February, qualified farmers can collect as much as $50,000, plus debt relief. Others may collect monetary damages up to $250,000. One of the largest class-action cases filed against the U.S., the 1996 lawsuit by American Indian plaintiffs accused the Interior Department of mismanaging trust funds that collected royalties for grazing rights and the extraction of minerals, oil and natural gas from tribal lands.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
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