Protecting Monsanto Risks Food Safety

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

A rider to protect the biotech giant Monsanto from litigation was anonymously slipped into the bill, HR933, that averted the shut down have the government and signed into law by Pres. Barack Obama. The rider, known as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” has ignited a firestorm of protests not just from food safety advocates and environmentalists but from the right wing as well. Much of the ire has been directed at Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for not drawing attention to the rider. According the Amy Goodman, at Democracy Now, the rider was written by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) with Monsanto’s help and initially was backed by Sen. John Tester (D-MT), who realizing the pernicious aspects of the rider to farmers, attempted to have it removed from the bill before it was passed. Sen. Tester failed to get the rider removed. The bill passed with the rider intact and was signed into law by Pres. Obama. On the bright side of this, the rider is temporary since the act expired in six months. It does raise wider issues of genetically modified organisms (GMO), their safety and protecting the food chain as opposed to protecting the right of a multinational corporation that wants to dominate and control food through seed supplies.

Ms. Goodman and her co-host, Aaron Maté. discuss the “Monsanto Protection Act” and the safety of genetically modified foods with two guests: Gregory Jaffe, director of the Biotechnology Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that addresses food and nutrition issues; and Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and author of the book, “Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America.

Full transcript here

The IBTimes listed the most troubling aspects of the rider that was written by Monsanto lawyers:

1. The Monsanto Protection Act effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future.

2. The provision’s language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto.

-Many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the Monsanto Protection Act even existed within the Bill they were voting on.

3. The President did nothing to stop it, either. On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933.

4. It sets a terrible precedent…The message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side.

The article also revealed that Sen. Blunt has received over $60,000 from Monsanto in campaign contributions. Sen. Mikulski issued a statement that she “understands the anger over this provision. She didn’t put the language in the bill and doesn’t support it either.”  

The controversial provision has also raised the ire of the right wing Tea Party

“It is not the purview of Tea Party Patriots to comment on the merits of GMOs — that is a discussion and debate for experts and activists within that field,” wrote Dustin Siggins, who blogs for Tea Party Patriots, on the group’s website. “From the perspective of citizens who want open, transparent government that serves the people, however, the so-called ‘Monsanto Protection Act,’ Section 735 of the Continuing Resolution, is one heck of a special interest loophole for friends of Congress.”

Food Democracy Now has begun a petition that has already been signed by 250,000, demanding that President Obama to issue an Executive Order requiring the mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Late last night President Barack Obama signed H.R. 933, which contained the Monsanto Protection Act into law. President Obama knowingly signed the Monsanto Protection Act over the urgent pleas of more than 250,000 Americans who asked that he use his executive authority to veto it. President Obama failed to live up to his oath to protect the American people and our constitution.

Today we’re calling on President Obama to issue an executive order to call for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Not only is GMO labeling a reasonable and common sense solution to the continued controversy that corporations like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical have created by subverting our basic democratic rights, but it is a basic right that citizens in 62 other countries around the world already enjoy, including Europe, Russia, China, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

Join us in demanding mandatory labeling of GMO foods. Now’s the time!

Call President Barack Obama (202) 456-1111 or if that line is busy, please call (202) 456-1414 – then ask at least 5 of your friends to join you!


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  1. TMC
  2. terryhallinan

    I am no fan of Monsanto for numerous reasons.  

    Their BT corn and other crops may contain an environmental threat but food safety?

    This is rabid nonsense by my figuring that those who fear growing two heads from eating GMO’s could use one that works.

    Have you stopped eating bananas, a rare occurrence of hybrid plants from two different species in nature?

    Naturally every banana and plaintain is sterile and must be propagated artificially through cuttings.  They are Mother Nature’s own GMO.

    Dr. Waksal bravely noted that all plants and animals and even archaebacteria, but not bacteria, had the Death Switch as part of their heritage.  Splicing in the ancestral genes that prevent need for herbicides, pesticides, fertilizer and even irrigation is not creating a frankenstein monster at all.  

    It is only propagating stronger, healthier natural plants that can take care of themselves better than the weaklings.

    You think the Frankenstein hunters care anything at all about that?

    Surely not.  Science isn’t their thing.  Superstition and fearmongering is.

    Dr. Waksal ring any bells for you?

    It was the good brother, the scientist Harlan, speaking rather than the loudmouth jailbird liar, brother Sam.  

    Why do people listen to the loudmouth liars rather than the good people?

    Maybe it’s the noise level?


    Not that I have any strong opinion one way or another. :-)

    Best,  Terry

  3. TMC

    We don’t know how safe, or unsafe, gmo seeds are. And there in lies the rub of this provision should something go wrong in the future:

    The Monsanto Protection Act effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future.

    The other problem is that Monsanto wants to create a virtual monopoly on seeds. Read this article about what has happened in India

    Monsanto and its PR men are trying desperately to delink the epidemic of farmers suicides in India from its growing control over the cotton seed supply. For us it is the control over seed, the first link in the food chain, the source of life which is our biggest concern. When a corporation controls seed, it controls life. Including the life of our farmers.

    The trends of Monsanto’s concentrated control on the seed sector in India or across the world is the central issue. This is what connects the farmer suicides in India, to Monsanto v Percy Schmeiser in Canada, or Monsanto v Bowman in the US, to farmers in Brazil suing Monsanto for $2.2 billion for unfair collection of royalty. Through patents on seeds, Monsanto has become the “Life Lord” on the planet, collecting rents from life’s renewal and from farmers, the original breeders. Patents on seed are illegitimate because putting a toxic gene into a plant cell is not the “creation” or invention of the plant. They are seeds of deception – the deception of Monsanto being the creator of seeds and life, the deception that while it sues farmers and traps them in debt, it is working for farmers’ welfare and “improving farmers lives” – the deception that GMOs feed the world. GMOs are failing to control pests and weeds, and have instead led to the emergence of super pests and super weeds [PDF].

    Here are 8 reasons why gmo foods are bad for your body, bad for the community, bad for farmers and bad for the environment.

  4. terryhallinan

    Hi MomCat,

    I deeply appreciate this website and find it a huge break from the usual rote thinking.

    From my standpoint the propaganda in your final link particularly is as filled with lies and disinformation as a screed by the NRA on guns:

    To wit:

    Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are created when a gene from one species is transferred to another

    In fact the genes of primary interest to me in agriculture are inherent in all known plants and animals and even in ancient archaebacteria.

    A major problem is that splicing the gene into nature’s own cross-species sterile hybrids, bananas and plaintain, cannot be duplicated by “natural” hybridization – which is anything but natural.

    Other plants have been bred with the super strong genes laboriously over many years through the usual hybrid process since, remember, the gene is inherent in all plants and animals as far as anyone knows.

    The plants are stronger, healthier, more productive, can even survive quite well without chemicals, fertilizer and even irrigation.  

    If the plants were remotely a threat to the planet, they would long ago have supplanted their weaker brethren long ago.

    Why haven’t they done so?  Was Darwin wrong?

    There is a lot of speculation on that score and I have offered my own but it is a fact of life that only liars can deny.

    I am quite confident I have convinced no one here but perhaps I have offered a seed of doubt to some.  That is all anyone can do.

    Take care,


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