[permaculture] A leverage point we all can do something about

Linda Ray lindaray at att.net
Sun Sep 2 18:16:08 EDT 2012

I still want to know if someone is trying to sell me GMO ingredients or GMO produce.
So that I can ditch it. 
Anyone who is in favor of GMOs might as well not read this, and don't give me lip about it either. 
"Identity-preserved" is the missing phrase throughout the business guy's response ("...from David Nicklaus, who is the business columnist..." blah blah blah). 
*Of course* his position is to "do nothing". He's a *business guy*.
I don't care if the "grain traders" don't like it either. They're looking for profits, not healthiness.
I don't care what the AMA says, or the National Academy of Sciences and the World 
HealthOrganization – that genetic engineering poses no health risk. Spare me. Or better yet, ask the Monarch Butterflies. AFAIAC, if that's what they're saying, then they're gnutz.
I don't care what Thomas Redick thinks either, he's profiting off the argument, writing another book.
Read what the work of the venerable researcher, Arpad Pusztai says about it:
For anyone who hasn't realized it yet, our bodies require *complete, unbroken and recognizable DNA* to assimilate and gain actual nourishment from the foods we have ingested. Not a patchwork quilt stuck together of fish, tomatoes, pesticides and pesticide-producing segments with terminators to breeding built in.
Is there a farmer around worth his/her salt who doesn't realize the difference between hybrids and Heirlooms?
Anything which has been joined across incompatible-for-breeding species boundaries is going to produce problems. IOW if 2 of whatever it is can't mate and produce functional offspring there's going to be a problem (I'm not saying there's no problem if they can either. Ask a mule.).
The "bounty-hunter clause" can be dropped out of the document. IMHO they should add a hold-harmless clause *in favor of* the farmers who have been (expensively) sued by MonsantaClaus et al because their poisonous seed crept into the neighboring farmer's fields.
This is my opinion, and yes I vote by it.
Now let me tell you how I *really* feel...

--- On Sun, 9/2/12, venaurafarm <venaurafarm at bellsouth.net> wrote:

From: venaurafarm <venaurafarm at bellsouth.net>
Subject: Re: [permaculture] A leverage point we all can do something about
To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Sunday, September 2, 2012, 11:12 AM

On 9/1/2012 7:28 PM, Cory Brennan wrote:

> Labeling GMOs in California is a key leverage point to breaking the
> death grip that companies like Monsanto have on our food supply. We
> can take our food supply back from people who could care less about
> the quality of it.
> I know that most of you are doing quite a lot about that in various
> ways. I'm hoping that you all will also feel that you can take the
> 1-5 minutes or so that it takes to sign the petition, and forward
> this to others. Maybe you feel it won't make a difference but I think
> that letting the powers that be know how many people are against what
> they are doing on this front is an essential act. If you live in
> Calif, please vote yes on 37, and get your friends to do the same.
> The fact that Monsanto and others are fighting it so hard means they
> know it will affect sales.
> http://www.organicconsumers.org/bytes/ob344.htm
> This is a fast way to see who is paying to keep GMO's in your food a
> secret - no surprises there:
> http://www.kcet.org/news/ballotbrief/elections2012/propositions/prop-37-funding-genetically-engineered-food.html

> Koreen Brennan
> www.growpermaculture.com www.facebook.com/growpermaculturenow
> www.meetup.com/sustainable-urban-agriculture-coalition

Just so you'll know what the opposition is saying and publishing,
here are examples [LONG string of forwarded mesages] with rebuttals:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] Prop 37 is flawed in many ways
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2012 15:25:42 -0400
From: Thomas Redick <thomasredick at NETSCAPE.NET>

As an attorney for growers (including nonGMO and organic growers), and 
author of book on Mandatory GM food labeling, I continue to be astounded 
at the
proposed CA Prop 37 law.

Assuming this list has some who care about truth, justice and a simple 
farm family's right to feed us, I will share an article from our Sunday 
paper in STL and an excerpt of a draft op-ed that I am writing about 
this misguided law.



While over 40 nations have laws labeling of GM food,the California 
proposed law goes to new extremes, with: 1)  A “bounty hunter” payoff to 
encourage Californialawyers to sue food companies, 2)  Thelowest 
tolerance on the planet, 3)  Labelingoils made from GM crops, following 
the lead of Brazil and the EU and mostimportantly, and 4)  An exemption 
for organiccrops – unique worldwide.

Given its potential to mandate commercial speech (aproblem under the 
First Amendment) and disrupt interstate commerce – anotherconstitutional 
problem – this law may never survive litigation challenges.  California 
consumers, like Vermont’sconsumers (who had their Bst-milk law rejected 
by courts), can purchasevoluntarily-labeled non-GM’ food along with 
their voluntarily labeled non-Bstmilk.

If Prop. 37 survives challenges to become law, however,the four-step 
extremism noted above – lawyers, zero tolerance, oils, and exemptorganic 
-- sets up a litigation paradise in California joining an 
existingbonanza, as the New York Times recently reported (California is 
the epicenterof consumer fraud litigation against food companies).  For 
example, the only way to trace the use ofbiotech sources in oils (which 
have no residue to test for protein or DNA) willbe via filing litigation 
to seek costly “discovery” (depositions, documentsubpoenas etc.).

Such litigation hasbeen filed in another low-tolerance (0.9%), 
oil-labeling nation – Brazil. US-basedgrain traders (Cargill and Bunge 
North America) learned about this in Brazil in2007 when Greenpeace sued 
demanding documents back to growers’ seed purchasesin a costly effort to 
find out if any genetically engineered traces over 0.9%could be found. 
Greenpeace found GMOs(1% would do) in the supply chain, to the chagrin 
of these grain traders.  This type of case would be filed again 
after2014, as lawyers looking for non-GMO food sold to the existing 
prevalentstandard of 0.9% sue to force a GE label. When the tolerance 
goes to “zero” they can expand their net of discoverymore broadly. 
Defense costs wouldescalate as the tolerance goes from 0.5% (2014) to 
zero (2019).

Assuming polls arepredictive, Prop 37 will pass by a margin (3-1) 
similar to Prop. 65.  This California experiment in extreme GElabeling 
law could quickly become a grower’s nightmare, particularly in 
theCentral U.S. where most non-GMO commodities are produced.

This low tolerance will disrupt well-orderedorganic and commodity supply 
chains in many processed foods, as manufacturersseek to avoid labeling. 
  They willdeliver higher-priced food while only confusing consumers, 
who will find thattheir new organic-only processed foods can – and 
likely will -- havehigher levels of GM content than these impossibly low 
tolerances.  Ironically, forcing disclosure only of GM,while exempting 
organic, ensures that California consumers will not know whatpercentage 
of GM content they are eating

Californialabeling fight may raise food prices for all of us
Adding a couple of words to a package of corn chips maysound simple 
enough, but when those words are “genetically engineered,” thechange is 
anything but simple.
That's why the food and agriculture industries are spending big money 
todefeat a California ballot initiative that would require labeling of 
any foodcontaining genetically modified ingredients. Monsanto and its 
biotech rival,DuPont, have contributed morethan $4 million apiece to the 
anti-labeling fight. Other donors includePepsico, Nestlé and Solae, a 
food ingredients company based in St. Louis.
Backers of the initiative,known as Proposition 37, say they're fighting 
for consumers' right to knowwhat's in their food. Opponents say 
theproposition would require an expensive revamping of the nation's 
agriculturesupply chain, adding billions of dollars to food costs.
To avoid applying the “genetically engineered” label inCalifornia, a 
manufacturer would have to keep ingredients that aren'tgenetically 
modified separate from those that are, and test products to makesure 
that no stray genetic material has crept in.
All of that extra processing and testing wouldn't benefitconsumers, 
because all of the relevant authorities – including the AmericanMedical 
Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the World 
HealthOrganization – say genetic engineering poses no health risk.
Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, a professor of agribusiness atthe University 
of Missouri, says the proposed law would be a radical departurefrom 
current U.S. labeling philosophy.
Health and nutrition information has long been mandatory onlabels, but 
descriptors that don't affect nutritional value – such as “organic”or 
“free range” or “pesticide free” – have always been voluntary.
“One issue that's broadly true for any company is thatpredictability of 
regulation is important,” Kalaitzandonakes explains. “Onceyou start 
going outside safety, you get into a different regulatory regime.”
While the words “genetically engineered” won't giveconsumers any 
information, they are sort of scary-sounding. To Bruce Chassy,emeritus 
professor of food science and nutrition at the University of 
Illinois,that seems to be the point of Proposition 37.
“This is not science-based, and that's why I think it's adishonest 
campaign,” Chassy says. “They do not see this as giving consumers 
theright to know. They see it as a foot in the door to get genetically 
modifiedcrops out of the store and out of the field.”
Tom Redick, a Clayton attorney who has written a book aboutfood labeling 
laws around the world, foresees a blizzard of litigation ifProposition 
37 becomes law. He worries about a “bounty hunter” clause, whichwould 
let anyone sue over a perceived labeling violation. The burden then 
wouldbe on the food company to submit documents and tests of all 
“It's not a law that will do any good for growers or thepublic, but it 
will sure be great for lawyers,” Redick says.
As companies revamp their supply chains to protect againstsuch lawsuits, 
food prices will rise. Certified non-GMO agricultural productscost 
roughly 15 percent more than their commodity equivalents.
Those costs will be passed on to all consumers, not justthose in California.
Citing the spending of Monsanto and others, the supportersof Proposition 
37 are trying to portray this as a battle of Big Agricultureagainst the 
people, but they've got it wrong.
It's really a matter of common sense vs. scare tactics. Andin this case, 
common sense is on Big Agriculture's side.
Read more fromDavid Nicklaus, who is the business columnist for the 
Post-Dispatch. OnTwitter, follow him at dnickbiz andthe Business section 

NICKLAUS • dnicklaus at post-dispatch.com >314-340-8213

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Astera <michael.astera at gmail.com>
To: thomasredick <thomasredick at netscape.net>
Cc: SANET-MG <SANET-MG at lists.ifas.ufl.edu>
Sent: Mon, Aug 20, 2012 3:11 pm
Subject: Re: Prop 37 is flawed in many ways

Thomas, thanks for making my day by choosing to put your scary 
propaganda piece as an answer to my earlier post.  Also thanks for 
letting me know just how much your owners are sweating this.

As for lawyers, nothing I would like better than to see the corporate 
monsters who have unconscionably loosed these abominations on innocent 
people sued out of existence. If there is GMO contamination in exempt 
Organic food, we know how it got there, and that it happened precisely 
because GMO crops were not properly vetted, regulated, or labeled.  If 
mandatory labeling of GMO ingredients makes food more expensive, we know 
exactly whom to blame: those corporations who foisted it on the 
unknowing public and did everything in their power to keep it from being 
properly investigated.

If you would like to write something of interest, please tell us why the 
GMO corporations have fought so hard against independent investigations 
of the health and environmental effects of their creations?

You don't want to know what I wish for you and those you serve.

Michael Astera

On Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 3:25 PM,  <thomasredick at netscape.net> wrote:

As an attorney for growers (including nonGMO and organic growers), and 
author of book on Mandatory GM food labeling, I continue to be astounded 
at the
proposed CA Prop 37 law.

Assuming this list has some who care about truth, justice and a simple 
farm family's right to feed us, I will share an article from our Sunday 
paper in STL
and an excerpt of a draft op-ed that I am writing about this misguided law.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] Prop 37 is flawed in many ways
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2012 22:17:07 -0400
From: Thomas Redick <thomasredick at NETSCAPE.NET>
Reply-To: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group 


Voluntary labeling for NonGMO at the tolerance chosen by consumers 
provides choice, much more effectively than mandatory governmental 
labeling (which operates in parallel and provides little added value, 
only potential regulatory violations and recalls).

Contrary to the repeated untruths stated on this listserver, companies 
like Pioneer have voluntarily investigated issues relating to 
allergenicity (e.g., chose not to market a soybean that appeared, based 
on DNA sequences, to come too close to a Brazil nut human allergen for 
comfort as chicken feed -- rather than risk commingling and potential 
harm, Pioneer chose an approach that appears "precautionary".

I represent growers, not the corporations you seem to loathe so much.  I 
am grateful, however, that we have a country that gives freedom of 
choice, including ownership of stock in corporations, which have brought 
plenty of good along with the bad aspects.

All the best


-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Astera <michael.astera at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Mon, Aug 20, 2012 10:56 am
Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] Would Rachel Carson Embrace GM Foods?

Wow. More false or misleading statements in that Pam Ronald article than
one can shake a stick at. Here's a real whopper:

"...genetically engineered cotton. These varieties contain a bacterial
protein called Bt that kills pests, but does not harm beneficial insects
and spiders. Bt itself is benign to humans..."

And another:

"despite the fact that all established health and science groups such as
the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and 
the World health 
rejected claims that genetically engineered crops or foods pose
additional risks or have altered nutritional profiles as compared to 
foods derived from conventional genetic alteration."

No mention of Roundup or other herbicides or their toxicity. And rather
than noting the huge number of suicides of small farmers in India who 
lost all they had due to crop failure ot GMO crops, we get this:

"This month, German researchers
farmers in India growing Bt cotton increased their yield by 24%, their 
profit by 50% and raised their living standards by 18%."

What's it all about?

"the incendiary debate over a fall ballot initiative that would require
warning labels on all foods with GE ingredients"

And if their is proof that GMO crops are beneficial and healthy, what's 
the problem with labeling them? Unfortunately there is no proof, and the 
GMO patent owners do not allow independent testing.

This is a pretty shameless sellout, made even more icky by the emphasis 
on Pam Ronald's husband being an "organic" farmer. GMOs are not allowed 
under the USDA NOP rules. Is he chomping at the bit to start growing 
them and calling them organic?

Might be worthwhile investigating whether Pam Ronald's husband really is 
an organic farmer.

Michel Astera

On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 6:05 PM, John D'hondt <dhondt at eircom.net> wrote:

> Even stronger, I can't immagine for a second that Rachel Carson
> would embrace this newer nail in the coffin of a Buzzing Spring.
> john

>> I doubt that Rachel Carson would embrace biotechnology were she
>> alive. I would definitely think twice about embracing Pam Ronald.
>> sincerely, joe cummins

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] Prop 37 is flawed in many ways
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2012 16:00:21 -0400
From: Gil Gillespie <gwg2 at CORNELL.EDU>

On 8/20/2012 3:25 PM, Thomas Redick wrote:
> As an attorney for growers (including nonGMO and organic growers), 
andauthor of book on Mandatory GM food labeling, I continue to be 
astounded at the
> proposed CA Prop 37 law.
> Assuming this list has some who care about truth, justice and a 
simple farm family's right to feed us, I will share an article from our 
Sunday paper in STL
> and an excerpt of a draft op-ed that I am writing about this 
misguided law.
> Tom
> www.geeclaw.com

. . .

In case anyone is interested, the book cited above is (courtesy of 

Thwarting Consumer Choice: The Case against Mandatory Labeling for 
Genetically Modified Foods [Hardcover]
Gary E. Marchant (Editor), Guy A. Cardineau (Editor), Thomas P. Redick 
(Editor), AEI Press (May 16, 2010)

Book Description
Publication Date: May 16, 2010 | ISBN-10: 0844743267 | ISBN-13: 
Are consumers entitled to full disclosure about what is in their food? 
Many countries, including key U.S. trading partners in Europe and Asia, 
have adopted mandatory labeling laws for genetically modified crops such 
as corn and soybeans.
Policymakers in the United States are under pressure from activist 
groups to adopt similar laws, and some public opinion polls suggest that 
90 percent of Americans support mandatory GM labeling. But does GM 
labeling really protect consumers? In Thwarting Consumer Choice, Gary E. 
Marchant, Guy A. Cardineau, and Thomas P. Redick contend that mandatory 
GM labeling laws actually harm consumers by pushing
genetically modified foods off the market.

Although proponents of mandatory labeling often question the safety of 
genetically modified foods, the National Academy of Sciences and other 
leading research institutions agree that "GM foods present no unique 
risks, or greater risks than non-GM foods." Genetically modified foods 
are not only safe, but abundant and inexpensive. Because they require 
less use of pesticides and fewer acres of land than conventional crops, 
they do not overtax the environment. Future innovations could produce GM 
foods with increased vitamin levels and reduced fat content.

Despite these vast benefits, the GM food industry is threatened by 
labeling requirements that are burdensome, expensive, and stigmatizing. 
Mandatory labeling would deter investment in this burgeoning 
biotechnology and deprive the public of important innovations. 
Ultimately, the authors conclude, GM labeling laws are
antithetical to the notion of consumer choice.

Gary E. Marchant, Thomas P. Redick and Guy A. Cardineau (two lawyers and 
a biotechnologist, respectively) stand against mandatory labeling 
requirements for genetically modified foods. In this slim volume, 
published by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy 
Research, the authors argue that while GM labeling is designed to give 
consumers more choice at the grocery store, the law will actually harm 
consumers by pushing such foods off the shelves....It provides
interesting food for thought. (Review Of Higher Education, June 2010 )

About the Author[s]
Gary E. Marchant is Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law, and 
Ethics at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State 
University. Guy A. Cardineau is the Associated Students of Arizona State 
University Centennial Professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of 
Law at Arizona State University.
Thomas P. Redick is the principal attorney in the Global Environmental 
Ethics Counsel.

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